Over 350 people gathered in Brooklyn Center on Friday, January 4, to recognize and celebrate student leaders from all across Minnesota at the 12th Annual Scholarship Gala. This year’s gala was held at a new venue, the Earle Brown Heritage Center.  And while the venue was new, the excitement and giving spirit felt throughout the night remained as high as ever.

The night kicked off with a 79-item silent auction, a wall of wine and a raffle. LeadMN Public Relations Coordinator Ocean Lamoureaux emceed the evening and welcomed guests to the gala. After dinner was served, LeadMN Executive Director Mike Dean recognized the 2018-19 scholarship recipients, and gave guests an overview of some of our achievements from the past year and a look ahead at the coming year. Four student speakers then shared their stories with guests.

The first student speaker was Ebise Teshale, Minneapolis College. Ebise was awarded the McCormick Leadership Scholarship, a highly competitive scholarship that awards $1,500 to one student a year. Manuel Hernandez, Metropolitan State University, spoke second. Manuel was awarded a new scholarship, the Warren H. Robens & Henry P. Dembiczak Scholarship that awards five $1,000 scholarships a year.

LeadMN Vice President Oballa Oballa, Riverland Community College-Austin, received a standing ovation after sharing his story about coming to America from a refugee camp in Kenya and struggling with food insecurity while attending college in Austin, MN. LeadMN President Frankie Becerra, Century College, spoke last. He also spoke on food insecurity and the barriers students face to meet basic needs on a daily basis.

The student speakers were a good reminder to everyone about why the gala is held, to help make it possible for students to continue their education.

Thanks to our generous donors and supporters, LeadMN was able to recognize 24 scholarship recipients during the night. The students who received scholarships are all leaders in their communities and come from diverse backgrounds. Some are the first in their families to attend college, some are individuals shifting careers in a changing economy, and some are students who hold full-time jobs. Every one of them is committed to making their community a better place.

LeadMN would like to thank everyone who helped support student scholarships throughout the year and everyone who attended our 12th Annual Scholarship Gala. We will work hard to continue furthering student success and achievement through scholarships. If you would like to still donate, you can do so on our website.

Save the date!

We hope you can join us at next years Scholarship Gala on Friday, January 10, 2020, once again being held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center! Hope to see you there!