HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Latino Scholarship Fund honored twelve local high school students at their awards ceremony at the Log Cabin in Holyoke Tuesday night.

The average scholarship is $1,500 and assists the students as they move on to college. The fund has provided thousands of dollars in scholarships to hundreds of Latino students since it started in 1991.

The scholarship fund aims to encourage achievement among Latino students at high schools in the Pioneer Valley.

LSF President Maddie Marquez said previous award recipients come back for the ceremony every year. She said the recognition of their achievements helps students believe in themselves. She said

“It was a transformative experience for him. It made him believe in himself in a way that he didnt before, so that’s one of the reasons we do it. It’s an old Spanish expression, Si se puede, yes we can do it”.

This year’s award recipients were Javelin Parra, Nysha Sanchez, Laleiska Martinez, Gensis Martinez, Richard Barreiros, Darian Gonzalez, Jacksiel Colon, Kiara Nazario-Cartagena, Tamara Rivera, Emily Lopez and Justin Colon.