Following a tradition that has provided $1.5 million for Hispanics’ college education since 2008, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) revealed the names of four Hispanic high school seniors who will each receive an RMHC/HACER National Scholarship of $100,000 to help finance their dream of a higher education. The students were selected for their academic achievement, commitment to community service projects and financial need.

This year’s scholarships were awarded to Loren Ramirez, from Johns Creek, Ga., attending Washington University in St. Louis; Jose Limon, from Los Angeles, attending Yale University; Sophia Ottleben, from Mesa, Ariz., attending Johns Hopkins University; and Francisco Pena, from McAllen, Texas, attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“When selecting scholarship recipients, RMHC and the scholarship review committee look for outstanding Latino students with a strong commitment to give back to their local communities during and beyond their college years. We are especially proud that this year’s group has made such a strong impact in their communities through various service projects including fundraising, mentoring and tutoring endeavors at elementary, middle, and high schools in low-income communities,” said Martin J. Coyne, president and CEO of RMHC. “Since 1985, the RMHC/HACER Scholarship Program has awarded more than $21 million to Hispanic students. This program is one way in which RMHC provides stability and resources to families so that their children can reach their full potential.”

Scholarship recipient Loren Ramirez was recently surprised with the news of her selection as a 2011 RMHC/HACER National Scholarship recipient during a live broadcast of the popular variety program Sabado Gigante on the Spanish-language network Univision. Sabado Gigante, a program recorded in front of a live studio audience, featuring live entertainment, human interest stories and contests, is Univision’s longest-running program and the longest-running television variety program in the world.  Loren was invited to the program, along with her twin sister and mother, under the impression that she was participating in a segment about twins, only to be surprised on-camera with the news that she had been awarded a $100,000 RMHC/HACER National Scholarship.

The RMHC/HACER Scholarship Program was founded in 1985 by McDonald’s® owner/operator Richard Castro of El Paso, Texas, with the support of RMHC, McDonald’s Corporation, and local Hispanic McDonald’s owner/operators throughout the country. Castro, a former educator, established the program after noticing increasing school drop-out rates among Hispanic students due to financial difficulties. The RMHC/HACER Scholarship Program provides awards ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 per student and is one of the country’s largest college scholarship programs for graduating Hispanic high school students.  Applications for the 2012 scholarship program will be available from November 2011 through January 2012. For more information on the scholarships and other education resources, please visit www.rmhc.org and www.MeEncanta.com.