Republican Women’s Club Announces Scholarship Winners

At a recent luncheon attended by 30 guests, the Montecito Hope Ranch Republican Women’s Club announced the recipients of this year’s Scholarship Awards. The scholarships went to Bradley Colin Churchman, winner of the Margaret Straight Scholarship; Cassandra Marie Joiner, winner of the Gertrude Calden Scholarship Award; and Jerad Bradley Ferguson, winner of the Montecito Hope Ranch RWF Scholarship Award.

“Our heartiest congratulations to these exemplary young people who are going to be our leaders of tomorrow,” said Gwat Bhattacharjie, scholarship chairman, in her closing remarks.

A home-schooled senior, Churchman has been taking City College courses since the ninth grade. He was also enrolled in Biola University’s Torrey Academy. The requirements for the scholarship competition include academic excellence and a writing competition. Churchman wrote an essay on the U.S. Constitution, concentrating on judicial interpretation. He is currently interning at the Young America’s Foundation and will be attending Wheaton College, in Illinois, majoring in political science and business economics or administration.

A full-time sophomore at Westmont College, Joiner has a GPA of 3.40 and is a major in communication. Since arriving at Westmont, she has been actively involved with the Westmont College Conservatives, serving as secretary, arranging and participating in many meetings, including helping to raise $10,000 recently for club members to attend a CPAC conference in Washington, D.C. One future project for the Club is to create a blog, which Joiner will be writing for. After graduation, she says she would like to work in the Washington, D.C. area and write a book.

Ferguson was not present at the luncheon and will receive his award in May.

Funding for the scholarship comes from the Margaret Straight bequest, the club’s Fiesta fundraiser and donations from club members.

For more information on the Montecito Hope Ranch Republican Women’s Club, contact

Mixing with Maggie Mixsell

In recent editions of “Our Town,” the Journal has reported on Montecito residents who are making contributions to “our town” and surrounding communities through their volunteer efforts. This is the latest in that series.

Maggie Mixsell has lived in Montecito for more than 40 years. She moved here from Ohio with her Santa Barbaran mother who missed the area and wanted to return home. Upon arrival, Maggie attended UCSB undergraduate school, studying anthropology, math and dramatic arts. Her love for the dramatic arts as a director found her volunteering in the drama department at Santa Barbara City College under Santa Barbara City College Department Chair Rick Moklen.

That contribution afforded her an acceptance letter into UCSB’s dramatic arts graduate program, where she received her Master’s degree. In between the studies and volunteer work, Mixsell sent her children to Montecito Union School, where she served on the PTA board and was a volunteer teacher’s aid for the third grade class.

Mixsell now lectures for UCSB’s dramatic arts program and is a teacher for the City College’s theatre arts program. She is artistic director of Speaking of Stories, where she also heads the “Word Up” educational outreach program, which is geared primarily to at-risk youths.

“I love my work, I love working with actors and making it happen and am very happy to be living in Montecito doing what I love to do,” says Mixsell.

An avid reader and member of countless book clubs, Mixsell is currently working on completing novel. Tight-lipped about the story line, Mixsell smiles. It’s a surprise.