HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., March 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Kmart today announced the names of 2011 Latina Smart Fund scholarship recipients. The Latina Smart Fund was created in 2011 as a means to make higher education more accessible to Hispanic youth. Winners announced today were chosen amongst nearly 200 students across the nation who submitted applications through the Latina Smart Facebook page.
Applicants uploaded written essays and video submissions to the Latina Smart Facebook page describing what it means to be "Latina Smart." The top-50 entries with the greatest number of "likes" advanced to a second round of reviews. Latina Smart brand ambassadors then selected 20 entries to advance to the final round where a committee of experts in the areas of business and education selected one $10,000 first-prize winner and three $5,000 runners up.
For Latinos, the hope for a brighter future and greater opportunities in the US is fueled by placing high importance on higher education. According to survey data from the Pew Hispanic Center, nearly 88 percent of Hispanics feel that a college degree is vital for getting ahead in life.[i]
"Kmart recognizes the importance of education within the Latino community as well as the need for college funding," said Andrew Stein, acting chief marketing officer, Kmart. "Through our Latina Smart Fund we are able to provide a total of $25,000 in financial support to four scholarship recipients."
Odalis Lopez, a freshman and communications major at the University of Maryland at College Park, was awarded the $10,000 first-prize scholarship. "I am the first high school graduate in my family and my tenacity led me to become the first Hispanic valedictorian in my high school - never let anything hinder your success," said Lopez.
$5,000 scholarship recipients included Gabriela Ruiz-Colon (Woodbury, Minn.), Bertsie Cantu (Charlotte, N.C.) and Rebecca Vences (Wake Forest, N.C.).
For more information on the Latina Smart Fund scholarship please visit http://www.facebook.com/latinasmart.
Kmart, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD), is a mass merchandising company that offers customers quality products through a portfolio of exclusive brands that includes Jaclyn Smith, Joe Boxer, County Living, Route 66 and Smart Sense. For more information visit the company's website at www.kmart.com or the Sears Holdings Corporation website at www.searsholdings.com.
[i] Latinos and Education: Explaining the Attainment Gap Pew Hispanic Center, October 7, 2009
Flowers Communications Group