Monday, April 27, 2009

Concert helps Latinos going to college

Concert benefits college-bound Latinos
By: DAVID HENKE, Northfield News, April 21, 2009

NORTHFIELD — A first-generation college student and a senior at the Northfield High School, Mauricio Lozada knows first-hand how hard it can be to finance college.

Which is why Lozada, who will attend the University of Wisconsin-River Falls next year, decided to create the Latino Scholarship Fund for fellow college-bound Latino students at the high school.

Last year, the fund provided $7,000 to eight Latino students at the high school — most of which was raised through a letter-writing campaign organized by Lozada and several other students. This spring, Lozada hopes to collect another $6,000 for Latino students with financial need at the high school — by hosting a benefit concert on April 25.

The concert will be emceed by Will Healy and will showcase four local musical groups, including “Church and State,” “Scaredy Cat Blackie,” “Feels like Friday” and “Scattered Skies.” All proceeds from the show, held in the Northfield High School Auditorium, will be donated to the Latino Scholarship Fund.

Lozada, a member of youth empowerment group Latinos Working for Change, created the fund last year. Earlier this spring, he and fellow LWC-members Brenda Kell and Maria Martinez approached high school Principal Joel Leer with the hopes of organizing a second, similar fundraiser. With Leer’s help, they decided to host a benefit concert.

Once they hit their fundraising goal, the money will be divided into six $1,000 scholarships, which will be available to college-bound Latino students who fill out an application and turn in a letter of reference.

“I know that I had to pay for college next year, and I was going through the process for filling out scholarship applications,” Lozada said. “I personally knew there was a need for a specific Latino scholarship. When I think of a thousand dollars, that’s a big help.”

Lozada and Leer hope that that concert will also strengthen the bonds between Northfield and its Latino community.

“It’s six kids getting a scholarship, but there are a hundred people that will be able to say ‘Hey, I’m community building,” Leer said.

It’s a sentiment that Healy, a pastor at Emmaus Baptist Church, shares.

“I always feel like music is a common denominator, so whenever we can be creative and do things artistically together, that is a bridge in itself,” Healy said. “I always love getting to meet some new people, and I hope that this is a celebration of some gifts, both artistic and financial.”

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