Orlando, FL (August 17, 2017)The Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando (HHSFMO), a 501(c)(3) organization, announced the recipients of the 2017 Hispanic Heritage Scholarship during an event held at Valencia College. The students will be honored during the 18th Annual Awards Ceremony on Friday, October 27, 2017 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

All of the scholarship recipients are of Hispanic descent and enrolled in postsecondary institutions in Central Florida. More than $160,000 in funds were awarded to twenty-three (23) students, bringing the organization’s total awards up to 316 scholarships and over $1,400,000 granted since HHSFMO’s inception more than seventeen (17) years ago.

Of the twenty-three (23) awards granted this year, twenty (20) $5,000 scholarships will be awarded. In addition, Manuel Banuchi, 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 (2) students, Carolina Guerrero and Karrye Nieves, 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.  Part of that grant was a $750,000 endowment, which was established in the 4th quarter of 2016, intended to help the organization to pursue its mission in perpetuity.

“Education is an investment and not an expense. Helios Education Foundation is proud to partner with the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando and invest not only in these scholarship recipients but in the Central Florida community,” said Grace Maseda, Marketing Communications Director for Helios Education Foundation.

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.  This year over 64% of the students had a focus on degrees in STEM, with an average GPA of 3.74.

The 2017 scholarship recipients are:

Angela Melchor

Debraliz Isaac-Aragones

Vanessa Gomez

Pablo Olortegui

Paola Rodriguez Morales

Karrye Nieves

Carolina Guerrero

Catalina Hernandez

Ariel Figueroa

Gabriel Alejandro Marino

Lina Huertas Gil

David Guacaneme

Valentina Nino

Daniel Paradela

Marcelo Silva

Italia Rico-Hurtado


Camila Castro

Emily O'neill

Malick Lozano

Jensine Gomez

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, Florida Blue, Florida Hospital, Orlando Health, Raytheon, Regions Bank, the University of Central Florida, Valencia College and Telemundo.

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.