July 30, 2019
High school and college students, along with their families, assembled in ETBU’s Ornelas Student Center last weekend for the 2019 Hispanic Education Fair, hosted by the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Hispanic Education Initiative. At the fair, participants from the community attended exhibits hosted by East Texas Baptist University, Baptist University of the Americas, and Dallas Baptist University, learned from speakers at various workshops, and rallied as a community for Hispanic Education.
The Hispanic Education Initiative, through Texas Baptists (BGCT), provides resources and scholarship opportunities that encourage students to stay in school through graduation, as well as reclaim students who have left school. The annual Hispanic Education Fair provides Hispanic high school, college students, and their families with tools and resources they can use to succeed and thrive in higher education.
“A university education results in a degree, certification, or professional proficiency produced by instruction, training, and study. At our Christ-centered institutions of higher learning, we are grounded in the understanding that Christian education demands the integration of biblical faith and learning,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said at the event. “We have designed our curriculum, programs, services, and activities within and through the context of a Christian world view – that results in a transformational experience of mind, body, and spirit.”
Texas Baptists is a fellowship of churches sacrificially giving themselves to God’s redemptive purpose. In order to transform communities and engage in culture, this coalition facilitates events such as the Hispanic Education Fair, uniting with a common cause for the betterment of education. High school participants had the opportunity to attend several workshops such as Keeping God First in College and Academic and Emotional Success led by ETBU’s Student Success Specialist Thomas Warren.
“As incoming freshmen, it’s easy to get discouraged and disconnected from your hometown. Train yourself to be disciplined,” Warren advised. “By achieving your own academic goals, you will boost your confidence and enable yourself to be successful in the future. From your freshman to senior year, there are going to be roadblocks in your way, so my department at ETBU helps keep students accountable and helps them achieve their goals. We want to be their support personally, spiritually, and emotionally.”
College attendees learned about the financial aspect of higher education as well as leading and impacting the next generations from Nathan Escamilla of Erez Church/Texas Baptists and David Gonzalez of Texas Baptists. Students who attended the Education Fair and submitted an application were also eligible to receive a $500 scholarship from the Hispanic Education Initiative to help with the costs of pursuing higher education. 18 students, five from ETBU, were awarded one of these scholarships at the event: Alyn Castillo, Facundo (Valentin) Gimenez, Keila Reyes, Rolando Reyes, and Andrea Rincon.
“My experience at ETBU has been great. I’ve learned a lot, and I know I’m going to keep on learning,” ETBU senior Worship Studies major and scholarship recipient Keila Reyes said. “I just received a scholarship that I had no idea was coming. It’s great they brought the Hispanic Education Fair to East Texas, I am really grateful.”
As the Hispanic population continues to grow on campus, East Texas Baptist has provided special scholarships to Hispanic students. ETBU fosters an environment where Hispanic students can appreciate the contribution they make to a campus community and embrace the diversity that is unique to ETBU’s campus.
“I chose ETBU because it’s such a family environment, it’s a Christ-oriented school, and it feels like a home away from home,” freshman Psychology major and scholarship recipient Andrea Rincon said. “It feels amazing. This scholarship has been a big blessing for me and many other Hispanic students as well.”
The Hispanic Education Fair opened the door of communication between universities, students, and parents, while providing a wealth of information and resources for attendees to take home with them.
ETBU President Blackburn ended the rally by speaking on behalf of the universities in attendance, “East Texas Baptist University, Baptist University of the Americas, and Dallas Baptist University, together, stand ready to help engage, educate, and empower our Hispanic students for the future of Texas and the future of God’s kingdom here on earth.”