BOISE, Idaho — Friday night, the Idaho Latino Scholarship Foundation (ILSF) held their annual award ceremony. The event was a life changing for many first-generation students.
"I come from a very rural and agricultural dominated area,” said Jacqueline Juarez, an ILSF award recipient. “At my school there are not a lot of minorities or really any representation. So, I had to push and make my own way and rely on the support of the people around me."
This is the reality of many Latino students in Idaho. Which is why the ILSF focuses on providing scholarships to students who need extra support.
"We really want to make sure that we are impacting these students' lives, so they can go on and get a higher education. Not only for their futures but for the future of their families," said Estrella Pedroza, an ILSF board member. “"We look for financial necessity. So, if someone has a full ride scholarship, they are exempt from being able to be a part of our scholarship application process. They have to show that they are in need of a scholarship."
Aside from financial necessity, Pedroza said they also look for students who go above and beyond for their communities.
"We also look for leadership. We love to see students that are involved in their community and in their schools. As well as great academic performance," Pedroza said.
Although this is an annual event for ILSF, it is a night of opportunity for many first-generation Idaho Latino’s like Juarez.
"For my family it's so important because they are not able to send me to college on their own," Juarez said. “It feels amazing to be able represent my community and my people and to really make everyone proud."
Juarez will be attending Boise State University this fall semester and said she will be studying programming for electric vehicles.
Pedroza said ILSF had 18 scholarship recipients this year out of over 100 applicants. She also said the number of applicants continues to grow each year.
"This is their community telling them that we believe in them. That we believe it is possible for them to achieve a higher education and we are sharing that support," Pedroza said.
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