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Students recognized at Toledo Mud Hens game during annual event

By La Prensa Staff

One of the longest-running Latino traditions in Toledo set a new milestone on Thursday, July 18, 2019 as Latino Heritage Night/Latino Scholarship Day with the Toledo Mud Hens, which saw 18 students being recognized for scholastic achievement during baseball pre-game festivities. That is the largest number of higher education grants given at the event. It was also the 18th year of the baseball field event, cofounded by La Prensa and SAO.  

Club Taino, the Spanish-American Organization (SAO), Latins United, and La Prensa newspaper all joined forces behind home plate before the Toledo Mud Hens took on the Durham Bulls on a warm summer evening at Fifth Third Field.


The majority of industrial democracies in Europe—like Germany—higher public education is either free or of little expense. This was the situation in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s—e.g., California public colleges were basically free—but since then, the cost of public education in colleges and universities has dramatically soared in the U.S., preventing many students from attending college.  

“Tuition right now for college is outrageous. That’s why we try to help out,” said Chevo Torres, president of Latins United, which awarded ten scholarships at $500 each. “It costs a lot of money and to be able to help them get their degree, whatever they’re majoring in, that’s awesome.”

The united effort to help the next generation of Latinos to pursue their passions allows them to dream a lot bigger and reach a lot further than those who went before them, said Torres, including the following students:

Liliana Barrera-Román is attending the University of Toledo as an early childhood development major. She switched from pre-med after talking with her academic advisor and deciding she wanted to work with kids. She earned a $500 Latins United scholarship after a friend tipped her off to the opportunity and found the application process on Facebook.

“I have a passion for education,” said the Chicago native with a big smile. “This means a really good help in finishing my (college) career in a year-and-a-half.”                                                                         

Micaela Serratos is a Central Catholic High School graduate who is headed to Eastern Michigan University in the fall to major in social work.  “I just like it,” she said. “I want to work with kids.”

Danielle Miranda, a 2017 Eastwood High School graduate, is studying nursing at Bowling Green State University. She received a $500 SAO scholarship. Ms. Miranda intends to be a labor and delivery nurse as a career, because she “really likes babies,” after crediting her work at a nursing home during high school fueling a desire to enter the medical field.

“This helps me buy my books. Nursing books have been over $500 (per semester) so far,” she said, admitting it’s been a struggle financially. “But I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Frankie Lizcano is a recent St. John’s Jesuit High School graduate who will major in computer science at the University of Michigan.

“I attended a U of M program the summer of my sophomore year and experienced autonomous vehicle technology,” he explained. “I saw the code that they were writing for the software and it intrigued me.”

Caleb Bradley graduated Clay High School this past spring and will major in forensic chemistry at West Virginia University. He someday wants to be a coroner.

“I’ve just always had an interest in it, growing up watching shows about it,” he said. “I also want to go to medical school to do forensic pathology.”

Reyann Kruger is a 2019 Perrysburg High School graduate received a $500 scholarship to attend Roosevelt University, majoring in biology. She called the scholarship a pleasant surprise.

“It really means a lot, because books are expensive, so it really helps me out,” she said. “My aunt brought it (the scholarship application) and said to fill it out, at least try, and I got it. I didn’t think I was going to get it. I’ve never been rewarded like that.”

Community Effort

SAO president Phil Barbosa likened the united effort by community entities to enhance Latino higher education opportunities to building a winning baseball team. “It’s really nice. It just takes time to build up that base, that reserve,” he said. “When you’re first starting out, you’ve got to keep growing them up from the minors. Get all these kids educated properly, to come this far, and be able to give them money. It just doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a building process—and we’re building our future.”

“Makes me happy. I had dreams, some realized, some not. You’ve got to take your chance when you get it,” said Barbosa. “We’re giving them the opportunity to jump at that chance. Everybody gets a chance at the brass ring and they’ve got to grab it when they can. There’s no second place. You have your dreams and when somebody else believes in your dreams enough to give you money, it helps.”   

According to Mary Morales, SAO scholarships included:  Gina Managhan is a sophomore at Owens Community College, majoring in criminal justice. The Northview High School graduate earned an $833 SAO scholarship. “My end goal is the FBI,” she stated with confidence. “Long story short, the criminal justice system holds a special place in my heart and I just want to be able to give back to people. (The scholarship) is very motivating and inspiring. It helps me to know I’m in a good place and the right place to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Alexia Marie Rudnicki received a $1,000 SAO scholarship to continue her nursing studies as a sophomore at Lourdes University. She eventually wants to work in a hospital setting. “It means a lot. $1,000 can be a tremendous help,” said the Northwood High School graduate. “I work in the medical field already and I just love helping others.”

Ellie Rodríguez is a recent Central Catholic high school graduate who will study nursing at the University of Toledo. She received a $500 SAO scholarship. “I want to follow in my grandmother’s footsteps,” she said. “She’s my role model. I look up to her so much. She’s one of my favorite people. I love hearing the stories. I want to be an emergency room nurse, because that’s where all the stories are.”  

Dominic Rodríguez, Ellie’s cousin, is attending Miami (Ohio) University in International Studies with a Russian major and Spanish minor. He earned a $500 scholarship. He decided on his major after speaking with fellow Air Force ROTC cadets. “I checked it out and I absolutely love it,” he said. “I really want to be a pilot. A degree in Russian can really help me forward my Air Force career. If becoming a pilot doesn’t work out, I can still pursue a career in Air Force intelligence, be a translator, or work overseas.” 

Other students who received scholarships included: Alexandra Huerta, who attends Lourdes University [$500, Latins United]; Kathryn Urrutia, a Sylvania Southview High School graduate [$500, Latins United]; Stephanie Martínez a Lourdes University Business Administration major, who received a $1,000 SAO scholarship; Samantha Torres, an Owens Community College criminal justice major, who received an $833 SAO scholarship; Michael Serratos, who attends the University of Toledo [$500, Latins United]; and Central Catholic High School graduate Analicia Soria [$500, Latins United].

Club Taino scholarship winners included: Amy Rivera, headed to Berklee College of Music in Boston and Leilani Pérez, who attends the University of Toledo. According to María González, these students will also be recognized at Club Tainos’ picnic on Sunday, July 28, 2019, from 1:00 to 5:00PM, at Swan Creek Metropark, 4659 Airport Hwy.  La Prensa awards its scholarships during Hispanic Heritage Month.

La Prensa’s Raena Smith was among those who threw out the first pitch during pregame festivities. And award-winning singer Yvonne Ramos-Ybarra delivered a rousing rendition of the national anthem.  

Hensville Park

Austin, Texas-based tejano/conjunto band JR Gómez y Los Conjunto Bandits drew a big crowd at adjacent Hensville Park during the Toledo Mud Hens’ victory over the Durham Bulls, 8 to 5. La Prensa, La Familia Mancha Entertainment, and the Toledo Mud Hens co-sponsored this adjacent concert. Yvonne sang several duets with JR Gomez.  

NEXT YEAR WISHES: Chevo Torres, of Latins United, promised a bigger celebration in 2020. The various groups are in discussions with the Toledo Mud Hens to sponsor the entertainment and tie next year’s Latino Heritage Night/Latino Scholarship Day with Copa de la Diversion (“Fun Cup”), a season-long event-series in minor-league baseball designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams’ local Hispanic/Latino communities.

Other teams have worn special uniforms and caps, sponsored musical performances and activities, and added Latino food to the ballpark menu, among other things. Torres says that the overall aim is to increase ballpark experiences with family-friendly fun events and to better connect to the Latino community.

Besides, almost 30 percent of MLB players are Latino that are either native to the U.S. or come from primarily Hispanic countries in the Caribbean.   

Note: In the photo on La Prensa’s front page are Analicia Soria, Caleb Bradley, Danielle Miranda, and Frankie Lizcano.




Copyright © 1989 to 2019 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 07/23/19 19:37:13 -0700.




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