More than $160,000 in scholarships awarded

Orlando, FL (August 18, 2016) – The Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando (HHSFMO), a 501(c)(3) organization, announced the recipients of the 2016 Hispanic Heritage Scholarship during an event held at Valencia College. The students will be honored during the 17th Annual Awards Ceremony on Friday, October 28, 2016 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

All of the scholarship recipients are of Hispanic descent and enrolled in post-secondary institutions in Central Florida. More than $160,000 in funds were awarded to 21 students, bringing the organization’s total awards up to 293 scholarships and $1,300,000 granted since HHSFMO’s inception more than 16 years ago.

“Higher education is the fastest way to ensure upward mobility and multigenerational benefits – we truly have the ability to impact these students’ lives in a very significant way. What a privilege. We are so thankful to have such great volunteers, funders and partners that continue to passionately support HHSFMO’s mission,” said Maritza Martinez, HHSFMO Chair and Associate Vice President of community relations for the University of Central Florida.  

The funds will be distributed to 21 students. Of those, eighteen (18) $5,000 scholarships will be awarded. Recipient Valerie Caro-Beltran will receive one full-tuition scholarship to earn a bachelor’s degree from the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College under the Rollins Evening Emerging Leaders (REEL) Scholarship Program.  Two students, Carmen Lopez Robledo and Zulma Echevarria, were chosen to receive a scholarship to complete a year at Florida Technical College.

In 2014, HHSFMO received a million dollar grant from the Helios Education Foundation, the largest grant in its history.  The grant included $100,000 to fund scholarships for 20 students (10 each in 2014 and 2015); $150,000 for strategic planning and operational needs; and a $750,000 endowment intended to help the organization to pursue its mission in perpetuity.

This year, in keeping with the organization’s new strategic priorities, a volunteer committee selected students based on character, community engagement; leadership; financial need; and area of study, with an emphasis on degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, those that support Central Florida anchor industries, and those that support regional economic priorities.

The 2016 scholarship recipients are:

Adriana Guevara Aranguren  

Ariel Figueroa            

Ayrton Fernandez                  

Carlos Rendon            

Carmen Lopez Robledo          

Christina Loredo                                 

David Johnston                       

David Guacaneme                  

Erica Diaz Ramos                   

Israel Acevedo

Italia Rico-Hurtado

Jomaris Sotomayor

Katherine (Kathy) Rodriguez

Kevin Ortiz                 

Michelle Otero

Natalie Vargas

Nicole Triana

Stephany Bustamante

Tatiana Bowling

Valerie Caro-Beltran

Zulma Echevarria

The scholarship fund’s efforts are made possible thanks to the support of this year’s sponsors, including Walt Disney World Resorts, Wells Fargo, CenturyLink, Duke Energy, Florida Blue, the University of Central Florida and CFE Federal Credit Union.

Partnerships with a number of Central Florida community organizations also account for a portion of the scholarships.  Among these partners are the Education Foundation of Osceola County, the Osceola/Kissimmee Hispanic Business Council, the Hispanic-American Professional and Business Women’s Association (HAPBWA), Casa de Mexico, and the Mexican Consulate of Orlando.