Family, friends and educators met Thursday to honor teachers who made a difference in students’ lives and help those soon-to-graduate teens pay for college.
The Hispanic Education Project held their 29th annual scholarship banquet and recognized 30 El Campo and Louise students.
Students wrote essays about educators that impacted them the most and recipients were chosen by HEP members.
Mary Arredondo presented scholarships and recognized the teachers and faculty the students wrote about.
“Juniors in college can get another scholarship to help them continue college,” Arredondo said.
“I wanted to thank (Diane Wallace) for being there and pushing me, I wouldn’t be graduating without her as my counselor,” El Campo senior Kaitlyn Galvan said Thursday.
The 30 scholarships given amounted to $16,000, bringing the total scholarships given by HEP to around 1,000 and the value of those scholarships approached $500,000.
HEP was founded in 1993 by, now president, Robert Perez, a former El Campo city councilman and Citizen of the Year.
“I went to an awards ceremony when my son graduated. My son received scholarships, but I saw an absence of Hispanic students and I thought that we should do something about that,” Perez said. Gathering like minded Hispanic business owners and sponsors, he was able to bring HEP to life.
“Our success has been great. El Campo is a very giving community, we have some great sponsors and we have a fantastic group (of members),” Perez said.
In total, HEP honored 25 students from El Campo; Ricardo Alba Jr., Nancy Aguilar, Kendall Beal, Angela Contrearas, Cielo Espinoza, Melody Espinosa, Evan Estrada, Luis Fonseca Jr., Jessica Franco, Kaitlyn Galvan, Tristan Harper, Caiden Herzik, Juan Lean Jr., Trianna Manzano, Javier Medellin, Kelsey Mireles, Karina Ramirez, Matthew Reyna, Raylynn Rodriguez, Dharma Sabrsula, Ariel Salas, Makayla Valenzuela, David Vallejo, Makayla Vasquez and Avery Viktorin. HEP also recognized five Louise students; Alejandro Balderas, Daniel Gaona III, Kelly Lemus, Christopher Vasquez and Breana Viesca.