Katy Valdez, a graduating senior at Loara High School in Anaheim, is one of those college-bound students who falls through the cracks when it comes to paying the thousands of dollars needed for tuition and expenses.
She’s not considered poor enough to receive enough funding to pay her way, but her family can’t afford to foot the bill. For her, a few hundred dollars in scholarship money is a big boost.
“College is so expensive, it really helps a lot,” Valdez said of the $500 she received last week. She will use the money toward her education at UC Santa Barbara, where she plans to major in communication studies.
Valdez is one of 16 Latino high school students graduating this year who was awarded a scholarship through money raised at the city’s annual Cinco de Mayo celebration.
The annual festival featuring various booths, games and traditional music and foods raised about $10,000 this year for scholarships.
“One of the things we want to do is to encourage kids to go on to school--No.1, to go to college, and No.2 to stay until they’ve finished,” said Meliton Lopez, superintendent of the Anaheim City Elementary School District and chairman of the scholarship committee. “These kids need a lot of support.”
Winners were chosen by tallying responses on a 40-point scale, which was based on GPAs, financial need, effort to further their education and leadership in school or the community, Lopez said. The 16 winners were chosen from among 22 applicants and received a total of $10,100 in grants ranging from $200 to $1,500.