Park City High student selected as recipient of Latinos in Action scholarship
When Angel Lopez set pen to paper to apply for the Latinos in Action senior scholarship a few months ago, he was hopeful that he would be selected. He did the paperwork and wrote the essays, then waited until the results were announced.
A few weeks ago, his teacher told him. He was named a finalist and would receive a scholarship to use at the college of his choice.
Lopez, a senior at Park City High School, said that he was shocked when he was selected as one of the four finalists for the statewide scholarship. He said even to be accepted into the national organization Latinos in Action is difficult and demanding.
“I know the playing field is competitive and some schools have a really big section of Latinos in Action,” he said. “I didn’t see it coming. I’m really lucky to have been chosen.”
Each of the four students won a scholarship, but one will receive a scholarship worth a greater amount. They will be named at the organization’s conference in April. Lopez said that he hopes to receive it, but he is happy to have been honored thus far.
Lopez joined Latinos in Action, which is focused on preparing first-generation bilingual and bicultural students for college, in seventh grade. His class was the first group in Park City that started in the organization at that grade.
“From then on I really fell in love with the program and what it stood for,” he said.
Being in a group of students with similar life experiences and interests helped him, he said.
“We have a safe space to talk about issues that really matter to us,” he said. “As a class, we work together, debrief together and talk about what action we are going to take from our current situations. There is a lot that we have gone through as a class together.”
Throughout all of his personal challenges, Lopez’s fellow students in Latinos in Action provided the support he needed, he said.
As co-president of the PCHS Latinos in Action program this year and vice president last year, Lopez put a lot of work into maintaining the program and helping it thrive. Receiving a scholarship from the organization that has helped him apply to and be accepted into college in the first place encourages him.
“Without this scholarship, it would be harder for me to get to college,” he said. “College is expensive. Knowing that I am receiving money from a program that I have dedicated my life to is an honor.”
While he feels some pressure representing PCHS at the conference, he said that he is also proud and grateful for all of the support the organization has received from the community and the school.
Lopez plans on attending the University of Utah in the fall.
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