The 30th edition of the Ronald McDonald House Charities® Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources® (RMHC®/HACER®) Scholarship Program awards luncheon took place on Wednesday, June 14 at Yankee Stadium honoring 16 students with more than $250,000 in scholarship funds. The annual program assists and supports Hispanic high school seniors pursuing higher education. Among the winners was Jamiles Jimenez, recipient of the prestigious $40,000 Rafael Pineda Award, named after the TV personality for his long time support of the program. Ms. Jimenez will pursue a major in computer science education at Queens College in New York.
More than $250,000 in scholarships were awarded to New York Tri-State senior high school students this year.
The RMHC/HACER scholarship program was established by local Hispanic McDonald’s Owner/Operators in the New York Tri-State Area as a way of providing opportunities to Hispanic youth, and to encourage and promote civic responsibility in their communities. To date, the program has awarded almost $8 million in scholarships to more than 1,200 high-school seniors in the New York Tri-State Area.
“For the past 30 years, RMHC/HACER has awarded scholarships to deserving students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, a deep commitment to the community, and a desire to pursue a college degree,” said Ana Madan, Chairman of the local RMHC/HACER Scholarship Program and McDonald’s Owner/Operator. “It is with great pride and dedication that McDonald’s Hispanic owners in the region have worked hard to support this program into the legacy it is today.”
“The RMHC/HACER program was designed to address the reality that many Hispanic students face significant financial barriers to higher education,” said Christopher Perry, Executive Director of RMHC New York Tri-State Area. “We are incredibly proud to offer 16 generous college scholarships this year to help these promising young students achieve their dreams of obtaining a higher education.”
The program received submissions from more than 390 students this year. The 16 scholarship winners were recognized for their educational accomplishments and commitment to the Hispanic community by the RMHC/HACER selection committee, comprised by Hispanic media outlets, community influencers, education professionals, and McDonald’s local owners. For the first time in the scholarship’s history, two of this year’s winners were fraternal twins chosen unknowingly by separate committee members all throughout the selection process.
The awards luncheon featured Katiria Soto, news anchor for Noticias Univision 41 as the master of ceremony and Odalys Molina from Telemundo 47 as the motivational speaker who spoke to the students about overcoming obstacles and the importance of persistence in the face of adversity. During the luncheon, guests were treated to a private performance by “Abigail,” up-and-coming Hispanic performer, and interacted with Ronald McDonald himself. Event attendees included scholarship winners and their families, selection committee members, representatives from RMHC and McDonald’s Corporate, local McDonald’s Owners, and members of the local press. After the ceremony concluded, guests were taken on a private tour of Yankee Stadium, including a stop at Monument Park and New York Yankees Museum.
2017 RMHC/HACER scholarship winners:
Jamiles Jimenez, Queens College, Computer Science Education, Yonkers, NY, $40,000
Jeferson Mendoza, Dartmouth College, Biomedical Engineering, Paterson, NJ, $20,000
Micaela Camacho-Tenreiro, Brown University, English, Colonia, NJ, $16,000
Rose Garcia, SUNY at Binghamton, Undecided, Sunnyside, NY, $16,000
Jackie Godinez, Carnegie Mellon University, Biomedical Engineering, Palisades Park, NJ, $16,000
Steven Liriano, University of Michigan, Aerospace Aeronautical, Merrick, NY, $16,000
Steven Maldonado, University of Pennsylvania, Mechanical Engineering, West Harrison, NY, $16,000
Yenifer Mendieta, Hunter College, Undecided, Brooklyn, NY, $16,000
Saira Reyes, Princeton, Chemical Engineering, Lyndhurst, NJ, $16,000
Arneris Rojas, Boston University, General Studies, Paterson, NJ, $16,000
Julissa Rojas, University of Florida, Animal Studies, Paterson, NJ, $16,000
Giselle Rosario, The City College of New York, Civil Engineering, New York, NY, $16,000
Daniel Ruiz, Stony Brook University, Civil Engineering, Brentwood, NY, $16,000
Kimberly Serna, The City College of New York, Biochemistry, Freeport, NY, $16,000
Emily Tumbaco, Monmouth University, Biochemistry, Union City, NJ, $16,000
Christopher Valencia, University of Pennsylvania, Chemical Engineering, Clifton, NJ, $16,000
About Ronald McDonald House Charities of the New York Tri-State Area
For over 20 years, Ronald McDonald House Charities® New York Tri-State Area has been creating, finding and supporting programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Their signature programs include scholarships to help provide access to a college education for students who need and earn it, and community grant to support a variety of local children’s charities in the areas of medicine, crisis intervention, civic and social services, education, and the arts. The organization also provides generous support to 5 Ronald McDonald Houses, which are “homes away from home” keeping families with sick children close to each other and the care and resources they need. For more information, please visit www.rmhcnytristate.org or contact 732-623-8639.