About $38,500 in scholarships was awarded by a local nonprofit group to 32 South County graduating seniors with ambitions of entering the medical field.
The money will help support the aspiring medical professionals as they enter college next fall.
About 60 students from seven high schools in the Saddleback Valley applied for the scholarship funds, which are donated by a volunteer group associated with the Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center.
Since 1973, the Auxiliary Scholarship Committee has raised the funds through the sale of flowers, candy and other goods at the hospital's gift shop and through donations from doctors and the public.
Students can apply for scholarships during the first four years of their college career. In previous years, as many as half of the scholarship winners were already college students.
Program organizers say the scholarships aren't just for prospective doctors and nurses but are aimed at anyone who wants to work in the medical field, from physical therapists to veterinarians.
Winners were chosen on the criteria of grades, financial need, and school and community involvement.
Scholarship recipients from Capistrano Valley High School included Erin Griswold, Ruchi Mahajan and Christopher Tullar.
At Dana Hills High School, the winners were Ali Gonili, Karun Grossman, Ellie Pavich, Krisianna Trager-Straw and Huy N. Tran.
From El Toro High, scholarship funds were awarded to Susana Ballesteros, Laura Dietz, Lisa DiMenna, Radcliffe Gallardo, Christopher Hass, Candace Howe, Christina Nemeth and Pierre Nguyen.
Laguna Hills High recipients included Terri Cho, Bryan Cotta, Jessica Elia, Matthew Englhard, Megan Ferrell, Lillian Hsieh, Kristin Laporte, Nicole Monastersky, Joanne Park and Samuel Yuhan.
At Mission Viejo High School, scholarship money was given to Jenny Choi, Melissa Melcher, Steven Miller and Heidi Schreiber.
Jeremy La Motte from San Clemente High School and Anh Bui from Trabuco Hills High School were also honored with scholarships.