In its biggest surprise ever, the FOX5 Surprise Squad teamed up with a Las Vegas hospitality foundation to help seven students achieve their dream of a college education.
The students, all local high school seniors, have overcome difficult challenges financially and in their family life to be successful in their studies.
“These students have worked hard to get where they are. It has not been easy but they know exactly where they want to go,” explained Melissa Arias, Executive Director of The Epicurean Charitable Foundation (ECF) which is comprised of more than 20 top food and beverage and hospitality executives dedicated to enriching the lives of local students passionate about a career in hospitality or culinary arts.
"I haven’t always had the best support in my life and I’ve lost a lot of family along the way. And even though I struggle to get to school every day and every day is a new challenge, I don’t let those challenges define me. I want my mother to be proud of me, I want my dad, who’s in heaven to look down on me and be happy," one student said.
They have big dreams: in hotel management, marketing, event planning, communications and in the restaurant industry. The students all applied for an Epicurean Charitable Foundation scholarship, which if awarded would give them a full-ride scholarship to UNLV, tuition & books, in addition to a mentor programming in the hospitality industry.
The FOX5 Surprise Squad secretly teamed up with the Foundation to surprise the students that they each had received the scholarship.
But that wasn't all. Don Forman, owner of United Nissan in Las Vegas awarded each student a brand-new car!
Martha Morales, once a pregnant teen with no family support, was granted the same scholarship 13 years ago. She is now General Manager at the world-class NOBU Restaurant at Caesars Palace and mentors students heading into the hospitality business.
"It’s not about where you came from. It’s about where you want to go. And what you’re willing to do and the work that you’re able to put in. Great things will happen," Morales explained.
To learn more about the Epicurean Charitable Foundation and their hospitality scholarships, call 702-932-5098, or go to their website.
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