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McDonald's donates $500,000 in Hispanic student scholarships

Staff Writer |
Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), with the support of McDonald's Hispanic owner/operators, will award five college-bound Hispanic high school seniors a $100,000 RMHC/HACER National Scholarship.




This is increasing McDonald's annual contribution to half a million dollars annually.

This year's five scholarship recipients are: Darinelle Merced-Calderón, Archer, Fla.; Gianfranco Filice, Gilroy, Calif.; Helena Silva-Nichols, Phoenix, Ariz.; Sarah Jackson, Fresno, Calif.; and Elizabeth Manero, Hamilton, Va.

For the first time, this year all five RMHC/HACER National Scholarship recipients will also be paired with a McDonald's mentor who will offer support and guidance throughout the students' college years, fostering continued growth and success.

The RMHC/HACER Scholarship was founded in 1985 by McDonald's owner/operator Richard Castro of El Paso, Texas, with the support of RMHC, McDonald's Corporation and local McDonald's Hispanic owner/operators throughout the country.

Castro, a former educator, established the scholarship after noticing increasing school drop-out rates among Hispanic students due to financial difficulties. He called upon his fellow owner/operators and the community at large to help remove the financial barrier of attending college.

In 2008, the national scholarship was added, offering four $100,000 awards to Hispanic students. Last fall, McDonald's increased its annual donation to RMHC, adding a fifth RMHC/HACER National Scholarship to the existing four $100,000 awards.

To date, more than $31 million in local and national RMHC/HACER Scholarship monies have been awarded to more than 17,800 students.

RMHC/HACER, which stands for Hispanic American Commitment to Education Resources, counts on the support of RMHC, McDonald's Corporation, McDonald's Hispanic owner/operators and other donors for its local scholarships.

It is fitting that HACER means "to do" in Spanish. National scholarship recipients are selected based on academic achievement, community involvement and financial need.

The rigorous selection process includes a completed application, essay and interviews with a distinguished panel of judges representing academia, business, media, RMHC and McDonald's.

Past scholarship recipients have attended prestigious universities, including Stanford University and Harvard University, and continued on to pursue careers in the medical, engineering and business fields, among others.

College-bound high school seniors are encouraged to apply for the upcoming 2017 RMHC/HACER Scholarship. Applications become available in October 2016 and awarded students are notified in the spring to coincide with college acceptances.