The 2022 LEAP Recipients planning to attend USU next year.
LOGAN — Students from the Latinx community throughout Cache Valley received the Leadership, Educational Achievement and Prosperity scholarships during the LEAP Gala Wednesday evening.
The LEAP Organization awarded 51 scholarships for students to attend higher education classes at Utah State University, Bridgerland Technical College, Salt Lake Community College, University of Utah, Dixie State University (Utah Tech University), Snow College and Weber State University.
The LEAP Organization was co-founded by local business owner Rigo and Lisa Chaparro and seeks to remove barriers that limit student success and ensure the Latinx students graduate high school with the ability to pursue post-secondary education.
During the gala, guests had the opportunity to hear guest speakers including USU President Noelle Cockett, the first LEAP Scholarship recipient graduate Manuel Giron Aleman and Western Governors University Regional Director Ismar Vallecillos.
Cockett said finding a community helps students succeed in higher education as well as learning the different resources at their disposal.
“Find a new community,” Cockett said. “Find a community that you can relate to and belong to.”
Vallecillos told the recipients that even though education helped him, believing in himself pushed him to succeed.
“Continue on the path you are on,” Vallecillos said. “Education will open the doors that can only be opened with a degree. Continue in the path in learning but also believe that you are just as capable as any human being around you.”
Vallecillos also advised the scholarship recipients to keep in mind the sacrifice their parents made and to find a mentor and learn from them to continue to grow.
“Honor your parents and the sacrifice that they have made to provide you with a world filled with opportunity,” Vallecillos said. “The LEAP Foundation is one of those opportunities. Take advantage of them. Find a mentor. Find someone you want to be like. Ask how they got there, learn from them and reach your fullest potential. Don’t settle.”
2022 LEAP Scholarship recipient Nohemi Benitez said the scholarship was a blessing and helps her get one step closer to her goal of becoming a preschool teacher.
“It is something I was not expecting,” Benitez said. “It has been a real big blessing for my family to see that I will be able to continue to progress and become what my parents want me to become.”
Chaparro closed the gala by motivating the recipients to continue their education and addressing the students’ parents in Spanish thanking them for the support they have shown their children.
“Be proud,” Chaparro said. “Be confident and you’ll be successful.”