By Andy Ross
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD - The seats at nearly every table inside Fort Hood's Phantom Warrior Club were occupied on Saturday night as the League of United Latin American Citizens' Killeen council hosted a banquet to honor scholarship recipients.
After opening remarks from LULAC Council 4535 President Raul Villaronga and performances by the Ballet Folklorico Alegria, a keynote address was offered by Texas A&M University-Central Texas President Marc Nigliazzo, who told the scholarship winners they were already on the path to success.
"You see all these people," Nigliazzo told students as he pointed to the crowd. "They are here tonight because of you. They are here because you will be recognized and encouraged to do great things with your life, and I promise you that you can do that."
This year there were 58 applicants from five area high schools competing for the scholarships that were funded through the LULAC Foundation and pledges from individuals and businesses in the Killeen community. Seven seniors recognized for outstanding work were each honored with a $1,000 scholarship.
The winners were: Kristal Ayala Alvarado, Ellison High School; Alonso Rivera Hernandez, Killeen High School; Amanda Smith, Harker Heights High School; Yalondra Santana, Shoemaker High School; Caleb Tuiasosopo, Copperas Cove High School; Ricaj Joslin, KHS; and Mostafa Al Tameemi, CCHS.
Three Continuing Education Scholarships each worth $1,000 also were handed out again this year to college students. The winners named were Eric Gonzalez-Danuz from TAMU-CT, Ademaris del Pilar from Central Texas College and Veronika Alvarado, an adult who is returning to college.
The police officer, firefighter and Hispanic of the year were also recognized at the banquet. Rachel Cervantes, an instructional leader at KISD was named the 2010 Hispanic of the Year. Roderick Mack was named the Killeen Police Department Officer of the Year and Scotty Jones was named the Killeen Fire Department Fireman of the Year.
Contact Andy Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468. Follow him on Twitter at KDHeducation.