“We took out a yellow napkin, and a black pen,” said David Araya, President of H.O.P.E as he spoke about the founding of the club H.O.P.E., which stands for Hispanic Organization of Promoting Education.
It all started out of an idea created from two frustrated college students, whose project for the University of North Georgia was of bringing in a recognized neurosurgeon, but quickly the plans fell apart due to conflicts. That led Araya and fellow student Angela Hurtado to the Wendy’s in Oakwood, where it was all conceived.
The club has now become a “transformational movement not only in Gainesville, but across the state,” according to Araya. It has been established in 26 high schools, with more than 1,500 Hispanic students, all from the humble beginnings of one school with only 20 members.
“The reasoning behind why we created (the organization) was because Angela and myself we faced numerous difficulties in high school,” Araya said. “When we both graduated, we were undocumented students searching for (an) avenue to attend college. It was very difficult for us.”
The purpose of the club is to provide “the largest student network of support, encouragement and resources available for Hispanic high school students.”
The club is mainly focused on Hispanic students, but “any student is welcome to be a part of the program,” according to Araya.
H.O.P.E. encourages the growth of the students by getting them out in the community and having them lend a hand and making the Hispanic community grow in a positive way.
“We try to make them leaders in the community and leaders of their own education,” said Betsy Segovia, vice president of H.O.P.E. at Johnson High School.
“We tutor our members if they ask for help, we have informational meetings for seniors where they receive not only information about scholarships, but how to apply, and which colleges would suit them best,” said Heather Abrego, president of H.O.P.E. at Johnson High School.
H.O.P.E. can be found in Chestatee, West Hall, Johnson and Gainesville high schools in Hall County.