Fund awards 15 scholarships to Chicano/as

By By Rita Totten, Staff Writer

By Rita Totten, Staff Writer

Michael Torres said that going to Hunter High School in West Valley City didn’t prepare him for higher education.

When he enrolled at the U and began taking classes in the College of Engineering, Torres struggled to succeed in classes, while trying to pay tuition.

The Chicano Scholarship Fund recently awarded Torres for his work with a one-year tuition scholarship.

“The fund not only recognizes my hard work and achievements, but also validates the struggles that Chicanos encounter within institutions,” said Torres, a senior in civil engineering.

Board members for the scholarship fund work with high school outreach programs as well as other college campuses to spread the word about available scholarships.

Manuel Romero co-founded the fund 33 years ago and has since awarded about 400 scholarships. The fund awarded 15 students with one-year and full-tuition scholarships at an awards banquet in the Union Ballroom on Friday.

The board chose scholarship recipients based on community involvement, leadership experience and grades.

Almost all of the recipients of the scholarships have gone on to be successful members of the community, including doctors, lawyers and business owners, Romero said.

Recently graduated high school seniors were also awarded scholarships.

Jesse Velarde, a graduate of West Jordan High School and a freshman at the U, plans to use the one-year scholarship he received to go into medical engineering.

“I’m hoping the scholarship will allow me to concentrate on my studies so I don’t have to work,” he said.

A scholarship counselor at Velarde’s high school told him about the scholarship opportunities.

Torres said the fund has a positive impact on Chicano/a students and their success at the U.

In appreciation of the scholarship fund, Torres said he wants to serve as a Chicano advocate and mentor after graduation.

The awards banquet offered a social hour, silent auction and awards ceremony for students and their parents.

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Jesse Garrett

Brian Marcelo Gkutierrez, a Chicano Scholarship award winner, looks over the items in the silent auction during the Chicano Scholarship award banquet on Friday night in the Union Ballroom.