Friday, April 19, 2013

Hispanic Scholarship Foundation Celebrates Leaders in Education

As a student, I am very much appreciative of organizations that help students achieve their goals through financial aid. Without these institutions, I would not have been able to pursue my advanced degrees, lest I be in overwhelming debt. Whether through a grant, scholarship, or stipend, no matter how big or small the award, I am forever grateful for having been lucky enough to receive support. I am delighted to partner with the Hispanic Scholarship Foundation (HSF) to bring awareness about their commitment to helping students.

I recently attended the Leaders in Education Award (LEA) luncheon. This event celebrated outstanding individuals in Southern California who showed exemplary efforts to persevere through their hardship and succeed in meeting their goals. This year marks the third annual LEA luncheon to raise awareness for HSF's work and recognize the contributions of leaders in the community and their impact in education.

Leaders in Education 2013 Awardees

Meet the 2013 HSF Leaders in Education awardees

School of the Year: Ánimo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood prepares students for college, leadership, and life through innovative instruction, a rigorous curriculum, and the use of cutting-edge technology.

Educator of the YearTeresa Carrero can always be found in her office making sure every student has the best opportunity. Terry says she works for the kids because they all deserve a chance to better themselves and their lives and perhaps return someday to mentor future Roosevelt High students.

Male Student of the YearAriel Salazar has seen his share of hardships and heard the comments of people who have doubted his abilities because he’s Hispanic. Those experiences have only served to propel him to strive harder for success in order to prove his commitment to pursuing his higher education goals and to give back to his community.

Female Student of the Year: Barbie Aguilar has a dream to attend college, become and architect and move to Peru for a year to build homes for needy families.

Parent of the YearLorena Aguilar and her siblings were instilled with a strong sense of upward mobility and education by her working class immigrant parents and she has passed on those strong values to her two daughters whom she has raised as a single mother, with the help of her closely-knit family.

Volunteer/Mentor of the Year: Oscar Ayon Puga is President/Co-Founder of Unidos Por La Música, a non-profit which mission is to provide University Scholarships, Medical Grants and Hunger Relief efforts by creating musical charitable events to benefit those in need.

What I loved about attending this event was that HSF recognized not just students who excelled, but their support system as well. School, educator, parent, and volunteer/mentor were given the spotlight for their contribution in the success of students. It certainly takes more than just individual determination to attain a degree, trust me, I know. Without the help, encouragement, and support of the people around me, life would have been a lot harder.

Hispanic Scholarship Foundation Executives

Favorite features

  • I loved the short video clips of all the honorees. They provided a perspective of the awardees from family, friends, and mentors that really showcased why they beat out all of the other nominees.
  • I enjoyed interacting with the honorees and HSF staff during the meet and greet. Each and everyone we spoke with was so warm and friendly.
  • The Pledge to Text during lunch was awesome. While sponsors and guests were eating lunch, a fundraiser was going on in the background. Over $75,000 was raised during that time and will go to help so many students.

We got a chance to speak with President/CEO Fidel Vargas. As a six time HSF recipient, he believes so much in giving back to the foundation and wants to take it to the next level. He gave guests a sneak peek of the 833 Campaign that is set to launch in September. The campaign is important for the future of not just HSF, but to students and the schools, educators, and individuals who support their educational attainment.

A little about the Hispanic Scholarship Foundation

Connect with HSF on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure:  This is part of a compensated campaign with Smith New Media and However, all opinions expressed are my own.