Until she heard her name called out last Tuesday night at The Salvation Army’s third annual Youth of the Year Scholarship Awards Banquet, Eliana Perez didn’t have any true higher education aspirations. 

The high school student admits she wanted to go to college, but because of her family’s limited resources she had all but given up on her dreams.

Instead Perez foresaw a future for herself of helping her family make ends meet after graduation.  That all changed when, to her surprise, she was awarded third place and a $3,000 scholarship for her entry in this year’s Youth of the Year speech competition put together by The Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. 

Immediately her eyes welled up and the idea of attending a four year university became a more plausible reality.