AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
"Amigo We Love" award
The Orgulla Hispano award is the "Amigo we love", given to a supporto of the Latino and immagrant community. This award was given to Dr. Michael Spalding and Equal Chance for Education, a nonprofit that devotes money to academically gifted migrant students without access to financial aid. A successful doctor now retired, Dr. Spalding though it was unnacceptable that high-achieving undocumented students are ineligable for in-state tuition, making higher education unattainable and leaving them with few options. His foundation is now providing college tuition, mentoring, and other ongoing support to nine students in Tennesee with plans to expand to meet the growing need.
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"Undocumented Students in financial crisis find an unexpected ally in Belle Meade Republican"
Raul Castaneda, a recent graduate of Hillwood High School, works at a Middle Tennessee McDonald's with his mom. Castaneda's dad works at a bakery, and he lives at home along with his 14-year-old sister. Castaneda dreams of one day becoming a doctor. But because both of his parents are originally from Mexico, he can't qualify for in-state tuition, making even community college out of reach.
"I couldn't afford to go because I wasn't considered a resident," says the soft-spoken Castaneda, 19, who has spent his whole life in Nashville. "The way we're living right now, it's not fair."
Castaneda is hardly alone. Another local teenager, a young woman, has dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon. Another maintains a 3.9 average. Still another recently applied to Cumberland University's nursing program, while another student plans to attend Belmont next fall.
All share something in common, apart from their commendable school performance, high grades and ambitions. All are the children of undocumented immigrants — and as such, they're ineligible for state and federal financial aid they might receive otherwise.
Gail Kerr HRCules Award
In April 2014 Mayor Karl Dean and the Davidson County Human Relations Commission awarded us the first Gail Kerr HRCulus Award for "helping to ensure all people have access to an affordable education."
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