The Hispanic Outreach & Leadership at Armstrong (HOLA) program hosted its second annual fund-raising gala on April 23 in the Armstrong Center.
HOLA’s "Growing Dreams Gala” had more than one hundred guests to raise money for student scholarships. The event was planned in conjunction with the university’s Hispanic fraternity, Phi Iota Alpha.
The event kicked off at 7:30 p.m. with speeches by HOLA Director Melody Rodriguez and Vicki McNeil, the vice president for Student Affairs, which oversees the HOLA program.
McNeil said that the scholarship was a necessity.
"For some students, this makes the difference of whether they can stay at Armstrong,” McNeil said.
In her speech, she stated that the "growing dreams” theme of the event was notable as the reason AASU was started.
Rodriguez said that HOLA exists to encourage Hispanic students to place college first. "College is an investment that you get to cash later in life.”
She stated that this is important because of the unacceptable Latino drop-out rates.
"Our university is growing, but it cannot grow without student perseverance.”
The HOLA Program Scholarship will be dependent on the amount of money raised at the gala.
Last year, three students received HOLA Program Scholarships of $1,000 each. The scholarship is separate from the Goizueta Foundation Scholarship, which is also administered by HOLA.
Corporate sponsorship from various organizations in the Hispanic community, ensured that the greater share of the evening’s proceeds went to funding the scholarship rather than paying for the event.
Joy Osorio, who was present representing 5 Linx, one of the sponsors, stated that HOLA drew their attention because of community affiliations. "For us, it’s very important to keep in touch with our Hispanic heritage and give back.”
The Osorios have family ties with AASU as well. Staci Osorio, a sophomore in the English program, said that HOLA’s contribution was very recognizable. "I think it does a lot for the Hispanic students, and it helps us grow and achieve our goals.”
Phi Iota Alpha, which helped plan the event, took the opportunity to present a scholarship of their own. The fraternity presented its LEO Scholarship Award to Pierre Thys, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering.
Thys is a part of the Alliance Program, a dual enrollment program that makes him a part of both AASU and Georgia Tech, and has a 4.0 GPA.
The LEO, or Limited Education Opportunity Scholarship Award, presents $300 yearly to a freshman or sophomore minority student with a 3.0 GPA and a record of community service. The effort was created out of the awareness of the exceptionally high drop-out rate for minority students after their second year.
The gala had Latin music, performed live and the cuisine to match. The band, Grupo Kachimbo, provided plenty of salsa music that kept the guests on the dance floor.