The Taco Bell Foundation has kicked off their 2023 Live Más Scholarship season with a little help from the Sacramento Kings.
On April 2nd, during the halftime show of the Sacramento Kings game against the San Antonio Spurs, the Taco Bell Foundation, alongside local Taco Bell Franchise Owners, awarded seven Taco Bell fans with Live Más Scholarships.
“When I found out that I had won the Live Más Scholarship, I was absolutely ecstatic,” said Andrés Maldonado, a 2023 Live Más Scholar who was awarded $25,000 in scholarship during the game. “I felt proud of all the hard work and effort I have invested in bringing my passion to life, and grateful to the Taco Bell Foundation for recognizing my potential. It made me feel excited to continue living my passion for health equity.”
This year, the Taco Bell Foundation announced it is awarding more than $10 million in Live Más Scholarships to 982 students, just like Andrés, who are eager to ignite powerful change within their community.
Among the scholars awarded was Tiernan Vestal, a graduating senior with a passion for human health. “I can’t wait to use my scholarship to go to a college where I can participate in scientific research,” she stated. “Rather than worrying about the cost of college, I will be able to spend my senior year working, volunteering at my local hospital, starting a club at my school, and becoming a summer intern for a mobile health unit. This scholarship has opened a world of opportunities for me – and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
After the halftime show, the celebrations continued with a post-game taco party recognizing all the scholars and their hard work.
The Live Más Scholarship goes beyond the funds awarded and provides a community for these young scholars. The program opens the door to connections, opportunities, and programs to help students flourish in their passions.
“Being a part of the Live Más Scholarship community means so much to me,” said Dillon Hill, another 2023 Live Más Scholar who was awarded a $10,000 in scholarship during the game. “I am deeply touched by the warmth, encouragement, and camaraderie I have experienced from my fellow scholars and supporters. It is an honor to join a group of talented and driven individuals, all striving to make a positive difference in the world.”
Check out the stories of the seven 2023 Live Más Scholars who were awarded their scholarships during the Kings game and will be changing their communities for the better:
- Tiernan Vestal: Tiernan has always had a calling to pursue human medicine. A product of IVF, Tiernan hopes to one day attend medical school and through her research and work, make fertility care more affordable and accessible to all.
- Andrés Maldonado: Andrés is currently a medical student at the University of California Davis, studying to join the mere 6% of Latino Physicians. As a first-generation college student, Andrés looks to specialize in emergency medicine and strengthen the medical and social safety net that emergency medicine provides to underrepresented communities.
- Dillon Hill: Dillon is the founder of a nonprofit that uses virtual reality to help kids who are in the hospital. Through his work, Dillon and the team have raised over $150,000 and made a significant impact nationwide. Dillon is also the founder of a foundation that is dedicated to his best friend who was diagnosed with cancer. Through a record-breaking bone marrow drive, Dillon was able to find his best friend a bone marrow match, saving his life and the lives of 13 others.
- Kennedy Plummer : Kennedy has a true passion for spreading joy to everyone she meets. She hopes to continue this passion by pursuing a career in journalism, allowing her to tell stories that spark joy in the millions that will read them.
- Timothy Hawkins: Helping people through the power of medicine is the driving force behind Timothy’s educational journey. Timothy has been gaining real life experience through various programs and by pursuing a higher education he knows that it will being him closer of reaching his goal of becoming a Physician.
- Graciella Hamilton: Through the art of writing and comedy, Graciella hopes to bring attention to social issues that so many are facing. She knows that education will only help further advance her skills and that will allow her to continue driving awareness to topics that she is so passionate about.
- Supriya Patel: Supriya has seen firsthand the impact that climate change has had on our planet, and because of this has created a youth-led climate justice nonprofit, Fridays for Future. Through her work she has drafted, advocated for and passed three emergency climate delectations and looks forward to continuing this important work with the help of her Live Más Scholarship.