Fri 6/19 @ 11:45am – 1:30pm
The numbers were bleak. In 2011, only 30 percent of Hispanic students were graduating Cleveland schools, something Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon and district officials rightly deemed a “crisis.”
Fast forward to the present and the numbers are much better — now the Hispanic student graduation rate is 61 percent. One of the organizations playing a pivotal role in this reversal is Esperanza Inc. This organization began in the 1980s as a community project to improve educational opportunities through awarding scholarships. The first year they gave out just one scholarship. Today they’re giving out over 100 at their annual Fiesta of Hope Scholarship Luncheon on Fri 6/19.
Esperanza Inc. will proudly award these scholarships to 106 deserving, aspiring students in Cleveland’s Hispanic community — 74 women and 33 men — who will be going on to 27 different colleges, from Cleveland State University to Hawaii Pacific University and one Ivy League school.
According to publicist Diana Greenberg, “Scholarships range from $1,000 to a $10,000 scholarship and the majority of scholarships are given to students who are the first in their families to attend college. During this year’s luncheon Jose C. Feliciano will be honored for his commitment to Esperanza and Greater Cleveland.”
The scholarships of course are huge for aspiring students, who are grateful for the opportunities they present. One recipient, Isaac Anaya, said, “I am grateful for all trouble people go to for me in my search for a better life.”
A 2015 graduate from MC2 Stem High School, Anaya developed exceptional leadership and academic skills in high school, maintaining a 4.0 GPA with plans to attend The Ohio State University to realize his full potential.
Greenberg expands on the organization’s mission, saying, “Esperanza, Inc. works with Hispanic students and their families in the local schools through compelling programs, in school and after, to excite the kids about education and more.
“Every June Esperanza, Inc. hosts ‘Fiesta of Hope’ (Esperanza is ‘hope’ in English) where more than 100 students receive college scholarships thanks to generous support of donors. Esperanza changes lives … students are encouraged, motivated, and learn to love school, which makes them look forward to their college years ahead.”
The luncheon will take place at the Cleveland Renaissance and will also celebrate the community contributions of Jose C. Feliciano. Be there and be inspired.
Cool Cleveland correspondent Sarah Valek studied art and writing at Ithaca College. After graduation, she came back to Cle and served two years as an AmeriCorps*VISTA with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. She can be found on all sides of the city in pursuit of homeschooling activities for her son and the perfect soy latte. Contact her at CoolEditor@CoolCleveland.com or via Twitter.