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Napa Valley College Students Esperanza Padilla and Arteja Smith Receive Regional/National Awards from Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society - Superintendent/President Dr. Ronald Kraft Also Honored -


NAPA, CA, MARCH 26, 2019 –Two Napa Valley College Phi Theta Kappa scholars were presented with All-California Community College Academic Team awards in Sacramento on March 25, 2019. The Community College League of California sponsors the award ceremony in partnership with Phi Theta Kappa to honor community college students selected to the All-California team and recognize their accomplishments. Additionally, Esperanza Padilla has been named a 2019 Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship.


The Coca-Cola Academic Team recognizes high achieving college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society. Esperanza Padilla is one of only 50 students selected from across the country for this honor. Padilla is majoring in psychology/social sciences at Napa Valley College and will transfer to UC Berkeley in fall 2019. She is a first-generation college student and serves as a student board member for the Napa County Hispanic Network. A student advocate, Padilla is president of the Young Democrats Chapter in Napa and recently joined the college's Phi Theta Kappa honor society board.


Arteja Smith, president of Napa Valley College's Phi Theta Kappa chapter, will be graduating from Napa Valley College with an associate's degree in psychology this spring before transferring to University of California, Davis. Smith works with students at Silverado Middle School as a classroom leader through the After Class Enrichment program and volunteers at The Meadows retirement home in Napa.


Additionally, Dr. Ronald Kraft, superintendent/president of Napa Valley College, is being honored with the Phi Theta Kappa Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction, the most prestigious award for college presidents. The award is given to a college president who has shown strong support of student success by recognizing academic achievement, leadership and service among high-achieving students on campus. Dr. Kraft was nominated by Phi Theta Kappa students at Napa Valley College.


"I am deeply gratified that two of our most deserving college students and well as our college president are being honored by the largest two-year college honor society in America," said Cathy Gillis, Napa Valley College's Phi Theta Kappa faculty advisor. "I have had the pleasure of working directly with these two outstanding students in our local chapter and getting to know them as individuals. I am ever grateful that our college president is also being honored as he has been a stalwart supporter of the all students in the honor society."

"The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges," said Jane Hale Hopkins, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. "We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals."


"We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for recognizing these student leaders and for investing in their futures," said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, President and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa. "Scholarships like these are integral to the success of these students in reaching their educational and career goals."


Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 10 nations. Learn more at Padilla, Smith and Dr. Kraft will also be recognized during Phi Theta Kappa's annual convention in Florida in April.





About Napa Valley College
Napa Valley College prepares students for evolving roles in a diverse, dynamic, and interdependent world. The college is an accredited open-access, degree- and certificate-granting institution that is committed to student achievement through high-quality programs and services that are continuously evaluated and improved. The college serves students and the community in the following areas:  transfer courses, career-technical education and training, basic skills, and self-supporting contract education and community education classes. Napa Valley College is located at 2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway in Napa. Learn more at

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