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Boryana and Stoyan Dineva
Boryana and Stoyan Dineva UC Berkeley, Economics

Boryana Dineva, 25, graduated from CSM last spring with a 4.0 grade point average and was one of the top honor awardees. Stoyan Dineva, 21, graduated with high honors from CSM with a 3.9 GPA. Boryana and Stoyan are sister and brother, scholarly, community service-minded and hard-working students who are now attending UC Berkeley, studying economics.

Last summer, on behalf of CSM's Phi Theta Kappa chapter, Boryana and Stoyan traveled to their home country of Bulgaria on a mission to provide greatly needed food, clothes and supplies to an orphanage for mostly physically and mentally challenged children from all over the country. The orphanage, which cares for 70 children, is located in the small and impoverished town of Mezdra. "I know that PTK at CSM has done a lot of good but I have to tell you that this was by far the best thing we have ever done," Boryana said of the group's support of the children. "We all can be very proud of this project. It involved a relatively small amount of money but made such a big difference."

A big difference that's what Boryana and Stoyan have made here in the United States since arriving from Bulgaria three years ago. At that time, they only spoke basic English. Now they speak it well, adding to the languages they also speak. Boryana speaks six and he five languages, including German and Russian. At CSM, Boryana was a student senator. The siblings were co-presidents of CSM's PTK, the international honor society for two-year colleges. They co-founded the German club on campus. Both tutored other students at CSM and were involved in a number of community service events, volunteering to clean beaches, collecting food for the needy, gathering clothes for those who lost possessions in natural disasters, and working at leadership, career and volunteer fairs.

Late last spring, Boryana and Stoyan were rewarded for their efforts when each received $8,000 scholarships from the San Mateo Rotary Club, while receiving other scholarships as well. Today, they are working on making their mark as students at UC Berkeley, which for some can be an overwhelming and daunting experience due to intense competition and rigorous study. The smart money would be on their succeeding. "Berkeley is trying to scare us at this point but we probably won't let that happen. Actually, not probably. We won't let it happen. Period," Boryana said.

You can bet on it.

This feature first appeared in CSM's President's eNews in September 2008.