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2014 Scholarship Recipients

Samantha Abbarno
(Armendariz recipient)

Samantha Abbarno, 19, was born in Chandler, Arizona
and moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado before her first
birthday. She graduated fromDiscovery Canyon
Campus High School class of 2013. Samantha
completed her Freshman year at the University of Colorado at
Colorado Springs and will be attending again for 2014-2015.
Her major
is in Business Accounting, with a minor in
Political Science. Through the
economic downturn, both
national and local, Samantha has become inspired
to pursue a career in politics while achieving a strong
business sense in
order to contribute to her community
and be an advocate for small business.
Some organizations of
which she has volunteered in would include the
Youth Board of Colorado Springs, Relay for Life at UCCS,
and Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, which benefits military families.

Syra Austria (El Cinco)

Syra Austria was born and raised in the Philippines before
she moved to Colorado Springs in the summer of 2003.
She graduated from Sierra High School in 2014 with a 4.3 GPA,
earning her place as a Class Valedictorian and Class President.
Growing up, she has always had a passion for helping those
in times of need. Directly impacting the lives of other people
with care is a priceless act. Believing that healthcare is where she
will make the most difference, Syra Austria will be pursuing a
Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of
Colorado Colorado Springs.

Nayda Benitez
(UCCS and El Cinco recipient)

My name is Nayda Benitez - a soon to be first generation
Freshman at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs!
Human anatomy and psychology have always perked my
interest so I plan to pursue a B.A. in Health Science as
well as a minor in Cognitive Studies. After undergraduate
school, I hope to obtain a licensure in Physical Therapy.

While nobody in my family is familiar with institutions
of higher learning, I have promised myself that I will rise to
the challenge regardless of the adversities
that may present themselves. Not only do I plan to enter the
Health and Social work fields, I plan to enter communities
where I can offer services that offer social and
clinical treatments less expensive than surgery.
My long-term goal is to create a chain of affordable clinics,
but my ultimate priority is to help people help themselves.

Karen Cejudo (El Cinco)

I, Karen Joseline Cejudo am really grateful for the scholarship.
I'm 17 years old and was born in Hermosillo Sonora Mexico
but raised in Colorado Springs. I am high school graduate from
Mitchell High School and ready to further my studies. 
I will work while I go toschool which is why I appreciate and
plan to make good use of the scholarship award to me.

Jamilex Diaz (El Cinco)

My name is Jamilex Diaz. I am Hispanic and I am
18 years old.  I have been a Colorado resident
since the age of 5 and I will be attending the University
of Colorado Colorado Springs
to earn my bachelors in nursing.

Maria Lopez (El Cinco)

In 2004, my family and I settled in Colorado Springs.
I never had an educated figure to follow, therefore, I had to
self-advocate for myself in order to be successful. As
a result, I became very active in school and within my
community. During high school, I joined several programs
where I had the opportunity to take on leadership roles.
In my senior year of high school, I worked on larger projects
such as attending several leadership camps,
community service for local schools, and becoming student
body Vice President. At the end of my senior year,
I was able to receive recognition at graduation for several
achievements; being a member of the National
Honor Society, Honor Student, 21st Century Member,
and Leadership Cabinet Member. I am proud to say that
even though I had several obstacles in
my way, ranging from my status in the US to lacking the
resources others had, I was able to overcome the
challenges that define who I am today. 
I am a successful Hispanic female ready
to explore new adventures in college.

Raelynn Martinez
(Armendariz recipient)

As a senior at Colorado State University-Pueblo,
I am majoring in Criminology with a double minor in Forensic
Science and Chemistry. My tremendous
amount of dedication towards my studies has been reflected
in numerous achievements such as attaining Dean’s
List every semester, and being inducted into the Alpha Lambda
Delta National Honors Society, Colorado State
University-Pueblo’s chapter of the Golden Key International
Honour Society and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
While maintaining a high grade point average, I carry a steady
part-time job to pay the bills and volunteer my spare
time in the community with several organizations such as
El Cinco de Mayo, Inc., Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation,
and Pueblo South High School. Upon graduation this spring,
I plan to continue on to my Master’s degree
and eventually become a criminal investigator.

Gloria Mendoza
(Armendariz recipient)

I am married to a wonderful husband of 27 years,
with whom I work alongside in our own construction company. 
I am a mother of two children, a grandmother
of two toddlers and a life long learner.  I'm grateful that
the door to my growing  desire to return to school is opening!
My passion to make a difference is fueled by 
my love for all people, learning new things and seeking
exciting adventures.  Completing a graduate study program will
combine all of these, in addition to increasing my confidence,
knowledge and marketability. Since I like to share
in my blessings, I anticipate using this opportunity to
help others and positively impact our community.

Chante Wiggins

(El Cinco)

My name is Chante Wiggins. I was born and raised in
Colorado Springs, Colorado and  I simply love it here.
I am the third  oldest out of eleven children. I have a passion 
for music and art; during my free time, I am always playing
the piano and percussion, or drawing and painting. I have
always been interested  in the medical field since I was
a very young girl. At the age of thirteen, my mother passed away
and my little brother and  I had to live with my father who
I had not seen frequently when I was younger.  Around this point
of my life, I felt very saddened and hopeless. I never wanted 
anyone to feel how I ever felt, so I decided that I wanted to
pursue a profession  in the medical field to impact
others’ lives positively. As a result, I am currently 
enrolled at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs
and I am majoring in  Medical Laboratory Technology.
After I have earned my Bachelor’s degree 
in that field, I plan on enrolling into a medical school
and pursue a profession in reconstructive surgery
and hopefully opening an office 
for business or working in a hospital.

On behalf of El Cinco de Mayo Inc.
we would like to congratulate
this years recipients.