McDonald’s HACER® National Scholarship is Impacting More Hispanic Students than Ever Before

August 14, 2019

Thirty Hispanic high school seniors have been awarded the national scholarship to pursue their dreams of higher education.

McDonald’s HACER® National Scholarship, which counts on the exclusive support of McDonald’s Corporation and McDonald’s Hispanic owner/operators, awarded a total of $500,000 to 30 outstanding Hispanic high school seniors to help finance their tuition.

Hispanic college enrollment is at a record high. In 2016, 47% of Hispanic high school graduates ages 18 to 24 were enrolled in college, and while Hispanics have made important strides in educational attainment in recent decades, they still lag behind when it comes to obtaining a four-year college degree.[1] For many, the high cost of attending college continues to be the number one obstacle to completing their higher education.[2]

By expanding the McDonald’s HACER National Scholarship for the upcoming academic year, McDonald’s is continuing to change for the better by working to alleviate this education gap with Hispanic students and provide more opportunities for educational attainment within the Hispanic community. McDonald’s has granted nearly $5 million to support the McDonald’s HACER® National Scholarship since 2008.

“We’re proud of the steps we’ve taken to continue supporting our Hispanic community, including expanding our HACER® National Scholarship to 30 recipients last year, which is six times as many winners than in previous years,” said HACER judge and McDonald’s Owner Operator Santiago Negre. “We are committed to helping young people reach their full potential and alleviating the stress of higher education costs.”

The HACER® National Scholarship is one of several ways McDonald’s continues investing in education and development opportunities for restaurant employees and the communities in which it serves. In 2018, McDonald’s announced Youth Opportunity – a global goal to reduce barriers to employment for two-million young people by 2025 through pre-employment job readiness training, employment opportunities and workplace development. The initiative recently expanded to Washington D.C. and Prince George’s County. Last year, McDonald’s also announced it will allocate $150 million over five years to its global Archways to Opportunity® education program. The education program provides eligible U.S. employees an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education/career advising services and learn English as a second language.  

The HACER scholarship winners are selected based on their academic achievement, community involvement, and financial need. The rigorous selection process includes a completed application, a personal questionnaire and interviews with a distinguished panel of judges representing academia, business, media, and McDonald’s.

College-bound high school seniors and their parents are encouraged to visit for additional college resources in English and Spanish and for details on how to apply for the McDonald’s HACER® National Scholarship in October. The scholarship application period opens up on October 7, 2019 and runs through February 5, 2020.

The list of this 2019 HACER National Scholarship recipients can be found below.

  1. Alexander Vargas, Layton High School in Layton, UT, attending Johns Hopkins University
  2. Melanie Reyes, Pleasant Valley High School in Brodheadsville, PA, attending New York University
  3. Kendra Da Silva, Coral Glades High School in Coral Springs, FL, attending Dartmouth College
  4. Matias Urcuyo, Mast Academy in Key Biscayne, FL, attending University of Pennsylvania
  5. Lorena Patino, Elgin High School in Elgin, IL, attending University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  6. Mariela Jimenez-River, Fort Hancock High School in Fort Hancock, TX, attending The University of Texas at Austin
  7. Steve Wilson, Lindblom Math and Science Academy in Chicago, IL, attending Ohio State University-Main Campus
  8. Kristen Blandon, Young Women's Preparatory Academy in Miami, FL, attending Barry University
  9. Noah Zuniga, Notre Dame College Prep in Niles, IL, attending Loyola University Chicago
  10. April Gonzalez, Leigh High School in San Jose, CA, attending University of California-Irvine
  11. Gizelle Polanco, South Torrance High School in Torrance, CA, attending California State University-Long Beach
  12. Gessica Molinet Calderin, Cypress Lakes High School in Katy, TX, attending Lone Star College System
  13. Ivanka Hernandez, Dexter Regional High School in Dexter, ME, attending Husson University
  14. Evelyn Santillan, Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, IL, attending University of Iowa
  15. Haylee Melendez, Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo, CA, attending Mesa State College
  16. Kimberly Ramos, Palm Beach Gardens Community High School in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, attending University of Central Florida
  17. Rose Sanchez, Bronx Leadership Academy II in Bronx, NY, attending SUNY College at New Paltz
  18. Juliette Besalu, TERRA Environmental Research Institute in Miami, FL, attending Florida International University
  19. Francesca Maturo Polo, Wheat Ridge High School in Wheat Ridge, CO, attending University of Colorado at Boulder
  20. Shawn Gonzalez, Henry County High School in New Castle, KY, attending University of Kentucky
  21. Victoria Urban, Oaks Hills High School in Oaks Hills,  CA, attending California State University-Monterey Bay
  22. Jorge Gonzalez, Strive Prep - from Atlanta, GA, attending Antelope Valley College
  23. Jacob Olaguir, Albuquerque High School in Albuquerque, NM, attending University of New Mexico-Main Campus
  24. Arianna Delic, Winter Springs High School in Winter Springs, FL, attending Seminole Community College
  25. Lucila Barocio, Canoga Park Senior High in Canoga Park, CA, attending California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
  26. Aileen Valenzuela, Ambassador School of Global Leadership in Los Angeles, CA, attending Pepperdine University
  27. Jasmine Leon Chavez, Lake City High in Lake City, SC, attending Francis Marion University
  28. Cedrick Wilson, from Danville, IL, attending McKendree University
  29. Eveanna Lerma, Lyndon B Johnson High School in Laredo, TX, attending Texas A & M International University
  30. Erica Pachecho Tenesaca, Edison High School in Minneapolis, MN, attending Augsburg College

[1]United States Census Bureau (2018, December). CPS Historical Time Series Tables on School Enrollment/. Retrieved from

[2]Education, U. D. (2016, November). Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education – Key Data Highlights Focusing on Race and Ethnicity and Promising Practices. Retrieved from