This year’s recipients of APIA scholarships from a fast food giant include two Filipino American students from Southern Nevada.
Scholarships totaling $500,000 were awarded to 55 students from across the country. 67 percent of them are students from low-income families, many of whom have inspiring personal stories of overcoming adversity and intend to use their education for the greater good.
Daisy P., a 19-year-old Fil-Am student from Las Vegas, is one of them. She had previously been homeless and had been a victim of domestic violence. Daisy was inspired by the assistance she received during her time of need and is now pursuing a career in nursing to help others.
John Gabriel Espinas Flora, a public health major at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is another Fil-Am recipient.
"When I was younger, we weren't in a stable financial situation. So from there, I knew I wanted to get out of the small island that I lived in my whole life. So I started working when I was able to when I was 16. From there, I took all the money so I could move to the States," Flora shares.
Flora began her college career in August 2020. He admits that juggling his studies and work while alone is difficult. Flora’s family still resides on Saipan, a Marianas island. His mother works as a beautician, and his father works as a security guard. Flora claims that the scholarship fund is a huge relief for students like him who are having financial difficulties.
"The McDonald's scholarship was really helpful because it actually helped me not pay anything for this whole year... I was accepted and I received $5,000 for a year which I'm very grateful for. I was able to relieve my family off the financial stress that they were in, in helping to pay for my college. It also helps me because for the most part, I pay mostly for my college tuition, my funds and other external stuff."
Asian and Pacific Islander Americans are the most economically divided ethnic group in the United States, according to Pew Research, with the top 10% earning nearly 11 times more than the bottom 10%. According to Pew Research, the APIA community is experiencing the fastest growth in income inequality.
"With communities of color, there's a lot of barriers, and we recognize this. It's so important to help our future leaders and students to get moving forward," McDonald's owner/operator William Cho says.
This year’s APIA scholar class is ethnically and geographically diverse. 94% of the recipients are first-generation immigrants, and 56% will be the first in their family to attend college.
The APIA scholarship application for 2022-2023 is now open. For more information, go to this link.
Two Fil-Ams among recipients of scholarship program helping APIA students|ABS-CBN News