ANTIOCH -- She was her best friend, who also happened to be her mother. And Antoinette Paulino is honoring that cherished bond with a scholarship.
The Sue Bertolani Memorial Scholarship fund was started to help pay tuition for a cosmetology student from Antioch's Delta Beauty College.
Bertolani was a professional hairstylist for 30 years, receiving her license from Delta in 1977. The Antioch resident passed away in 2005 after a four-month battle with brain cancer.
She worked at a variety of shops in East County, including Super Look and Highland Hair Works in Pittsburg and Jazzy Lass, Hair & Nail Creations and Hair Gallery in Antioch.
Paulino said her mother was a "gifted hairstylist serving a beloved clientele that often became her extended family. Her passion was 'doing hair' and she believed in the trade education she received at Delta. She loved enhancing her client's beauty with a great haircut and styling."
Current tuition for the cosmetology program at the Antioch school is more than $5,000.
Paulino has already managed to raise $3,100. Student Trena Allen is the lucky first recipient of this scholarship.
Paulino is still accepting donations for the fund through June 1.
"I sent out letters and fliers to family and friends ... posting in local salons and beauty supply stores," she said about how she raised the money.
"I wanted to keep my mother's memory alive by helping someone else achieve their goals," Paulino said. "My mother gave hugs that could warm anyone's heart. She had a love for this industry and a giving spirit. She always supported me in going after my goals, and being able to help others achieve in her memory is a wonderful feeling."
Paulino, a former 49ers Gold Rush and Golden State Warriors cheerleader, plans to make this a yearly scholarship.
If interested in donating to the Bertolani memorial scholarship, email SueBertolaniMemorial@yahoo.com. A direct-deposit option is available via any Wells Fargo Bank (No. 36-4739658.) For a scholarship application and more info about Delta Beauty College, visit www.deltabeauty.com.
Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net.