WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - More than 40 Texoma students have more money to help follow their dreams after winning scholarships at the 13th annual Zavala Heritage Hispanic Leadership Banquet on Saturday. The total amount of the scholarships is about $40,000.
"I really didn't think I was going to win because there were so many other kids going to that program too and wanted that help," Yesenia Aranda,17, said.
Aranda is a first generation Mexican-American and the first one in her family to go to college. She won $500 so she could go to Vernon College and chase her dreams of becoming an immigration lawyer.
"[I want to be an immigration lawyer] because of my parents, I've seen them go through a lot," Aranda said. "[It is] not only just them but other people as well-meaning different places that we got to."
The first Zavala Heritage Hispanic Leadership Banquet was no-where near the size of the latest one.
"It was little," Alicia Duran a Zavala board member said. "It was a little event and now we're using the MPEC to host over 50 tables."
Duran said it is because they are more aware of the city's Hispanic growth. The non-profit's mission is to empower the Hispanic community and others by offering educational, cultural and leadership opportunities.
Duran said the banquet and all the options the non-profit provides for the youth is all thanks to Wichita Falls residents.
"It's from the community," Duran said. "It's not any outside money. It's all from here."
The total worth of all the scholarships is around $40,000.
Newschannel 6 morning anchor Jake Garcia was the master of ceremonies for the banquet.