Scholarship Thank You Letters

Scholarship Thank you from OCC Student

August 21, 2020

Dear Leslie Hodowanec,

I want to express my sincere gratitude for selecting me to receive the Orange County Wine Society, Inc scholarship. I was excited to be chosen and I am deeply grateful for your support, especially because I took a great class Fall 2019, Bar Management with Professor Yates, and I learned quite a bit about wine, there is still so much more to learn but I’ve got a great start. 

I have been continuing my culinary degree even with all the madness going on today, I am happy to report that I passed Spring 2020 with another 4.0 semester. I could not have done it without all of the resources that Orange Coast College has given me.  Your donation will allow me to have less financial stress this coming quarter and I cannot express to you how much it means to me. My current career plan is to open my own small meal prep/meals to go business once i complete my schooling this coming year. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your gracious generosity and support me in my education.  You have inspired me to help others and give back to the community one day.   I promise to work hard and hope I will be able to help other students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.


Genevieve Clay-Poor

Huntington Beach, Ca 

Scholarship Thank you from OCC Student

Cameron Wilson

OCC Student

July 14, 2020

Dear Mrs. Leslie Hodowanec,

            I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for selecting me for the Orange County Wine Society scholarship. I am grateful to you and your organization for selecting me.

            I am currently enrolled in the advanced baking and pastry program at Orange Coast College. I have one more semester left until I earn my degree and the opportunity you have given me will allow me to reach the finish line. I cannot express to you how much this means to me and to have your support. I plan to be in the food industry in some way so I can feed people and make them happy.

            Thank you again for all of the support you have given me. I hope one day I may be able to do the same for others.


Cameron Wilson

Anaheim, CA,

Chris Cunningham Scholarship Endowment

The Board of Directors is very pleased to announce a scholarship endowment to Sonoma State University, in the name of Chris Cunningham. Chris, a treasured member of the OCWS, passed away in early 2018.

While working in the wine industry, Chris became highly respected by wine professionals and recognized for having an excellent palate.

Chris, along with many OCWS members, traveled often to the Russian River area, stopping by tasting rooms to meet the winemakers, discuss their harvest, and to sample their current vintages. Chris’ favorite varietals were Cabernet Sauvignon and Meritage.

This fall, the Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute is launching a new transition program, the first of its kind in the region. The new joint program includes a collaboration with local winegrowers and students from Santa Rosa Junior College who earned their Associate’s Degree in Enology and Viticulture to be able to transfer to SSU to earn their Bachelor’s Degree combining a comprehensive knowledge of the wine business and production of wine. Beside students pursuing degrees in the field of Business, scholarships are awarded for first-hand experience in viticulture and enology to those working “in the fields” of vineyard agriculture and winemaking research.

At this time, any OCWS member considering donating funds to the Chris Cunningham Scholarship account may specify Sonoma State University on their check or donate directly to SSU in the name of Chris Cunningham—OCWS. This is a wonderful way for his friends and family to honor the legacy of Chris and acknowledge his generous contributions to the OCWS in supporting the region’s wine industry and help sustain the California wine industry and Chris’ memory.

Chris, we all raise our glasses to you for honoring us with your trust and thirst for wine appreciation for years to come. On behalf of Sonoma State University and the OCWS, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Cunningham Family. Cheers, Chris!

– Leslie Hodowanec, Scholarship Chair

Scholarship Thank you

Thank You For Your Generosity
September 25th, 2017
Orange County Wine Society
P.O. Box 11059
Costa Mesa CA 92627Dear Orange County Wine Society,

I am writing to thank you for your generous $1200.00 CPS Orange County Wine Society scholarship. I was overwhelmed with joy and extremely appreciative to learn that I was selected as the recipient of your scholarship. Receiving this scholarship was particularly special to me because of the nine years I spent working and living in Orange County, which is one of my favorite places in the world. I decided to go to college at age 29 after falling in love with wine during my career in the restaurant industry in the OC.
I am a Wine and Viticulture major with an emphasis in enology. I plan to pursue a career in the wine industry upon graduating from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. I am currently a senior working on my last quarter, and plan to graduate in the fall of 2017. After graduation, I will be looking to travel to the Southern Hemisphere to work harvest and then be moving to Sonoma County to find employment in the wine industry. Thanks to you, I am one step closer to that goal.
By awarding me the CPS Orange County Wine Society scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus more on my studies. Over the last four years I have been in school full time, while working in restaurants part-time to pay for school and all other regular expenses. Your generosity will help me as I work towards my goal of graduating this fall Summa Cum Laude. It has also inspired me to help others and give back to the community, because without the help of generous people and organizations, like the Orange County Wine Society, I would not have been able to achieve my goals. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.


Robert J. Huff