Student selected to represent university for scholarship competition in honor of Hispanic heritage month

Andrea Guzman

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Throughout Hispanic Heritage month, senior Luana Chaires has appeared on broadcast stations across the country competing in a game show.

The Hispanic College Quiz is an annual 3-day scholarship competition where students from all over the country compete. The competition is headquartered and filmed in Nashville, Tennessee, in July.

As a McNair and College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) scholar, Chaires has pursued scholarships before.

Chaires reflected on the fact that not many people know the true intricacies behind Hispanic Heritage, which impulsed her interest and acceptance of the nomination for the scholarship.

“No one talks about the scientists and pioneers backs in the 1500s, so I thought it was really cool and I said yes,” Chaires said.

By placing second in the competition that she was placed in, Chaires received the Hispanic College Quiz, another scholarship to add to her resume.

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities represents 400 colleges and universities in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and Portugal.

12 students at Hispanic-serving institutions in the U.S. are chosen as representatives to compete in the show. As such an institution, St. Edward’s has sent representatives to compete in past years.

This year, Chaires represented St. Edward’s by competing and participating in the interview portion.

The scholarship awarded Chaires a few hundred dollars.

Upon the announcement that she was chosen to compete, Chaires and her coach, Sonia Briseno, Assistant Director of the McNair Scholars Program, reviewed a study guide provided by scholarship.

With five weeks until the competition, Chaires and Briseno created a schedule for study sessions related to questions Chaires would be asked about historic Hispanic leaders during the competition.

The figures in the study guide ranged from former and current leaders such as political activists and icons within the entertainment industry.

“It was really nice to have an entire event around the idea that we’re going to celebrate the success that individuals have produced throughout U.S. history,” Chaires said.

At the same time Chaires was preparing for the quiz, she also took part in the McNair intensive research program.

“Preparing for the actual show through the study guide is no trivial undertaking; it’s pretty intense… Especially all the new information about Latino heritage that you might not have been familiar with,” Briseno said “The neat thing is you get to learn about different Latino cultures. So if you are of Mexican descent, you also get to study about Cubans and people from central and South America. As a coach and as a student, we learn at the same time.”

The show aired in various Texas cities throughout the month of September and was featured on Austin KBVO Sept. 27.

It will continue to air in remaining states like Ohio and North Carolina in October.