For Esther Bonilla,
completing her Associates degree is an accomplishment she has
wanted for a long time. She moved from Puerto Rico at age 10
when her family lost everything in a category-3 hurricane.
Bonilla said she was ridiculed for not being able to speak
English and praised her elementary school teacher who took time
to help her learn. She now plans to attend Kent State University
and major in Mass Communications with the hopes of accomplishing
something so great it changes lives of many for the better. Her
journey was hardly smooth sailing, her dream of attending a
large university after graduation Lincoln West High School
was shattered when the reality of cost made it impossible.
“When I found out I cried
for days,” she said. Realizing that was not a solution she
turned to her favorite helper, Google. “That is when I found
Tri-C,” Bonilla said, and she promptly enrolled only to drop out
to support her family with a full time job. She returned several
years later after a pastor in the community encouraged her and
soon she found herself excelling.
“I really liked this
feeling of getting all A’s,” she said. Her gratitude poured
through her words as she profusely thanked the sponsors who made
her education possible. She beamed and held up her most recent
accomplishment, “My picture on the fall schedule catalog!”
journey is reminiscent of the sacrifices one makes for family.
He moved from
Guadalajara, Mexico to Kansas to attend the state university and
met and married his wife. Circumstances forced them to drop out
and eventually Cuevas encouraged his wife to pursue her lifelong
dream of becoming a doctor while he supported her financially.
Her success led them both to Cleveland through the
where she now works, and Jorge Cuevas found himself struggling
to find a job. “We decided it was time for me to go back and
finish my degree,” he said. Jorge Cuevas praised the faculty’s
support and commitment to helping students.
Jorge is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Information Systems and
Cleveland State University
and said scholarships are more than just financial support.
“They are also moral support for recipients and their families,
I think of how many possible great doctors or engineers are out
there who never made it because they couldn’t find the support,”
a major partner with the
Hispanic Scholarship Fund,
which donated a check of $50,000 to Tri-C at the ceremony to
express their continued support and commitment to the community
and an investment in their future workforce. Other supporters
KeyBank, Pepsi Beverages Company, Bernie Moreno, and Oscar F.
Villarreal; Family Foundation allows Tri-C’s Hispanic
Council to select deserving students for scholarship awards
which totaled $35,000 in scholarships for the 2012-13 academic
The Hispanic Council, which began in 1992, advises the College
on Latino issues and serves as a liaison between the College and
the Greater Cleveland Latino community. The Council also offers
bilingual assistance with admissions and registration, financial
aid, student visas, and scholarship opportunities, connecting
Hispanics with Tri-C programs, services, faculty and staff.
Kraft said the commitment
to Latino students is continually strengthened each year, and as
the refugee population in Cleveland increases the college will
reach out to more language specialists to ensure those new
communities and their needs for college attainment are also met.
Tri-C has the second largest undergraduate enrollment of Latino
students in the state of Ohio, with more than 1,000 Latino
students enrolled during the 2011-2012 academic year.