Scholarship applications can be submitted at the McDonald’s Web site at www.mcdonalds.com. | NevadaAppeal.com

Scholarship applications can be submitted at the McDonald’s Web site at www.mcdonalds.com.

Joanna Welch, Appeal Staff Writer

Hispanic students in Northern Nevada have one more reason to consider attending college – money.

A scholarship founded by the Global Ronald McDonald House Charities donated $25,000 to Hispanic students in the region wanting to attend college in the fall of 2000.

High school seniors are being invited to apply for a one-year scholarship.

Applications are available in McDonalds restaurants, schools, libraries and Nevada Hispanic Services’ offices.

The challenge for Northern Nevada is to raise matching funds, said John Drakulich, the founding member of McDonald’s Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources.

Drakulich, who helped raise the $750,000 to build Reno’s Ronald McDonald House, said it was time to consider a new enterprise.

When he studied the relatively low number of Hispanic students graduating from high school and attending college – 84 percent of Hispanic students graduate compared with 90 percent of the general student population – he realized that he had found his cause.

Hispanics count for about 20 percent of Northern Nevada’s students, up from 2 percent in the mid 1970s.

In the 1998-1999 school year, seven scholarships were offered specifically to Hispanic students, said Juanita Rogowski, scholarship chairman for Nevada Hispanic Services.

Paying for college can be a challenge and an impediment to college, Rogowski said.

“It (the scholarship) is a way of supporting and empowering our population,” she said. “It’s an exciting first for our community.”

Raymond Gonzalez, president of Washoe County’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a member of the scholarship’s selection committee, said he could think of several families that would appreciate the college fund.

His sister is one. She is a diligent student, but not a straight A high school senior, which rules out many scholarships, he said.

His sister faces the same predicament as thousands of Hispanic students.

“There are a whole lot of our kids who miss out and they’ll be just as successful in life as those kids with a 4.0,” he said.

In many cases, a student’s grades drop because they work after school or they’re taking care of family, Gonzalez said.

To this end, the scholarship program will review more than academic credentials when considering applications, Drakulich said.

“We are going to see the number of applications we have and go from there,” he said.

Applicants must be U.S citizens or permanent residents. They will be required to graduate from high school and at least one of student’s parents must be Hispanic.