By Danielle Anthony
The 19th Annual Hispanic Forum Scholarship Gala will take place at the Brazos Center in Bryan on July 15. The goal is to give out at least 63 scholarships to students in the Bryan College Station area at the gala for a grand total of $100,000. Several people in the community will also receive other awards. The night is a celebration of students and community leaders and will be complete with live and silent auctions, as well as entertainment from the Texas Unlimited Band and David Lee Garza featuring Ram Herrera.
The students will be awarded scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. These students come from the Bryan and College Station Independent School Districts and some B/CS private schools. The Hispanic Forum ranks students based on their GPA, school ranking, extracurricular activities, volunteer hours, letters of recommendation, and financial need to decide who will receive the scholarships. “There’s so many deserving students, choosing is a difficult task,” Hispanic Forum President Irma Pineda says.
Community leaders will be honored at the gala with awards such as “Person of the Year,” “Lifetime Achievements,” “Educator of the Year,” and “Student of the Year.”
The gala is their biggest fundraiser of the year, according to Pineda. Community members may donate a platinum sponsorship of $10,000, a gold sponsorship of $5,000, a silver sponsorship of $2,500, or a bronze sponsorship of $1,250. Individual tickets for the gala are also for sale for $125 per person. The Hispanic Forum also hosts other fundraising events throughout the year, including a golf tournament held in April and a 5K run in the fall.
The forum will also hold a raffle at the gala for a piece of jewelry donated by Montelongo’s Fine Jewelry. The Gregg Ruth, four-carat with 18 carat white gold, three-strand tennis bracelet is valued at $12,000. Raffle tickets are $10 each and can be purchased from any member of the Hispanic Forum or via the email link on the Hispanic Forum website. Tickets are sold until the day of the gala and the drawing is held that night.
The Hispanic Forum started as a banquet that awarded three scholarships and recognized community leaders and has grown into an organization large enough to award $100,000 in 2016.
“Our group has a passion for helping students further their education,” Pineda says.
Students receiving these scholarships have gone to colleges across the state and the country, with some students attending Ivy League schools.
“I feel such a sense of pride with the students we have in the area and their drive to be successful and their longing for an education beyond high school,” Pineda explains. “I hope they remember that someone helped them out and that they will want to do the same thing. I hope that each student always remembers that giving back is important.”