BOISE, Idaho — The Hispanic Business Association (HBA) hosted their annual scholarship ceremony Wednesday at the Idaho State Capitol and awarded 21 scholarships to Latino and Hispanic students from all across Idaho.
The award encourages first generation Latino and Hispanic students to reach positions in Idaho’s leadership and businesses.
University of Idaho junior and HBA Scholarship Award recipient, Natalie Sauste, dreams of running for office in the Gem State. She often speaks her position into existence.
"Hopefully my people who are in the state of Idaho and all those around my life vote for me and hopefully one day we can make a better change for Idaho,” Sauste said.
Sauste was one of the 21 total students awarded. 15 college and six high school students earned 2022 HBA Scholarships. Sauste said the award means more to her than just money.
"It is more than just financial aid," Sauste said. "It means way more for our community who are getting our education to go back into our communities who are in desperate need."
For more than 30 years, HBA has helped Idaho students like Sauste achieve a high level of success. Their goal is to help Idaho’s Hispanic youth reach leadership positions.
“We started this in 1993, partly as a response to the general consensus that most Hispanics worked in the migrant labor world and we were trying to dispel that notion and let people know that they are in the business world and professional business owners and on and on," HBA Vice President, Kirby Ortiz said.
Ortiz said this year, they were able to award a record number of scholarships.
"The quantity of scholarships we're giving out is 21 this year, which is more than what we've given out in the past and the dollar figure is $30,000,” Ortiz said.
There’s been a 17% increase of Idaho’s Latinos in the business industry and leadership positions since the start of the scholarship program, according to Ortiz. To help increase that number, Ortiz said the scholarships were awarded to those interested in the accounting, marketing and medical fields.
“Anything that is business related,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz said now more than ever, Latinos and Hispanics across the Gem State need the financial support for their education.
"The cost of education is skyrocketing," Ortiz said. "The assistance from the state is simply not enough and most of the students who we assist simply don't have the means to afford a college education."
Sauste said scholarships like HBA’s help invest in the future of Idaho and it’s Hispanic and Latino communities in the long run.
“Continuing education is not built for us. It's not a world that exists for us," Sauste said. "So, having the support from the Hispanic Business Association and having this scholarship is empowering, for not only me, but the fellow students who also are recipients to create the change that is needed here in Idaho and create a space for minorities and people of color."
11 of the 21 scholarship recipients were congratulated with an awards ceremony Wednesday with Governor Brad Little.
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