Mexican Fiesta helps students go to college

MILWAUKEE -- Mexican Fiesta was held this weekend on the Summerfest grounds. It's an annual festival packed with Mexican food, dancing and fun.  It's sometimes easy to forget, the light-hearted festival has one serious goal: to help kids go to college.

All of the money collected during the weekend-long festival will go toward scholarships.  52 Latino students will get money for their education.

 "We know we have a challenge in getting Hispanic kids to transition from high school to college and many of them find that finances are an issue," trustee for the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Foundation Darryl Morin said.

Often, the challenge is keeping students enrolled after their first year.

"The retention rate in college isn't what it should be. If we can take that financial burden and keep those kids in school, we know it's going to be a big boost for the community," Morin said.

Marquette University sophmore Valeria Navarro is one scholarship recipient.  She also got a $1,000 Mexican Fiesta Scholarship last year.  Her scholarship helped her pay for her books.

"It's so expensive right now, and my family can't afford it, so I have to find a way to pay for my own stuff," Navarro said.

Tatiana Joseph is a former scholarship recipient.

"It takes a lot of that pressure to find money and pay for that tuition away from the students," Joseph said.

Close to $1 million in scholarship money has been handed out since the festival's inception.

"We feel special that we're getting helped, we're going to school. We're first generation and we're helping our families move up," Navarro said.

CLICK HERE for more information on Mexican Fiesta scholarships.