2022 Promise Scholars dream big as they head to college

The Holland/Zeeland Promise, an academic scholarship for students with high financial need, proven academic success, and motivation to achieve the goal of a college or technical degree, recently welcomed 12 hardworking local students to its 2022 cohort. 

The 2022 Promise Scholars join 34 returning recipients who are on track to earn their degrees. Overall, the program boasts a 94% graduation rate, as compared to a national average of 63%.

Established in 2010 by a group of business and community leaders with the goal to allow our community’s promising young people to graduate higher education without crushing student debt, the Holland/Zeeland Promise is administered by the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) and is funded by generous community partners. 

Last-dollar scholarship

The Promise is a last-dollar scholarship, which means that, after other grants and scholarships have been applied, local donors cover the remaining costs of tuition, books, and room and board. Unlike many other scholarships, the Promise is renewable for additional undergraduate years, dependent on students remaining in good academic standing and making progress toward their degrees. 

The Promise offers a side-by-side approach, addressing not only financial needs but also academic and socio-economic needs. Students participate in monthly check-ins with Yadah Ramirez, college success coach at CFHZ, to see how they are handling classes and life at school. They are also connected with helpful campus resources. Extra support is provided through local partnerships with Mosaic Counseling and Thompson M-TEC.

“It’s a joy to be part of an initiative that exists solely to help young adults achieve their academic goals and prepare for the future,” says Stacy Timmerman, director of scholarships for CFHZ. “We are incredibly grateful to the donors who support this program and help these students pursue their dream of a college degree.”

The 2022 Holland/Zeeland Promise Scholars:

Fernandao Medina


Fernando Medina
Graduate of: West Ottawa
Will attend: Hope College
“Words can’t explain how extremely grateful and blessed I am for being a Promise recipient. I will officially become a first-generation college student in the fall. Thanks to this opportunity, I will be able to pursue my goal of becoming a social worker. As a social worker, I plan on becoming someone who will impact those around me and in my community by providing support to many of those who are in need.” 

Kenya Garza

Kenya Garza
Graduate of: West Ottawa
Will attend: University of Michigan
“I am beyond thankful for the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area and the opportunity that donors have given me with the Promise Scholarship. It allows me to choose the school that I’ve been dreaming of attending and helps my years of hard work and perseverance receive a worthy outcome.”

Diego Felix Trejo

Diego Felix-Trejo
Graduate of: Holland Early College
Will attend: University of Michigan


Betzaida-Hidalgo
Betzaida Hidalgo
Graduate of: West Ottawa
Will attend: Hope College
“Words cannot express how thankful I am to be a Promise recipient. This scholarship lifted an immense burden for me and my family. I will always cherish this gift.”

Giselle Roman
Giselle Roman
Graduate of: West Ottawa
Will attend: Michigan State University

Kimberly Maldonado

Kimberly Maldonado 
Graduate of: West Ottawa
Will attend: Hope College 
“I am eternally grateful to be chosen as a Promise recipient. My parents are thrilled for me to have this opportunity to thrive. Thank you to the donors for seeing potential in me; I’m ready for the next step in my life with immense support.”

Isaak Nguyen

Isaak Nguyen
Graduate of: Holland Public
Will attend: Michigan State University
“The Promise has opened up many doors and possibilities, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity.” 

Lena Compian

Lena Compian
Graduate of: Zeeland West
Will attend: Grand Valley State University

LayRay Paw

LayRay Paw
Graduate of: Holland Public
Will attend: Lake Michigan College
“Being selected for the Promise Scholarship is absolutely incredible. I am the first person in my entire biological family/extended family to have the opportunity to receive a college degree. I am so grateful!”

Amy Pedraza

Amy Pedraza
Graduate of: Holland Public
Will attend: Hope College
“With this scholarship, I can now focus on my studies without worrying about my finances. Thank you for this amazing opportunity!”

Ellie Rizk
Graduate of: Holland Christian
Will attend: Michigan Technological University

Flor Hannah Quinonnes Sanchez

Flor Hannah Quinonnes Sanchez
Graduate of: Holland Public
Will attend: Kendall College of Art and Design
“I’m incredibly grateful to God, CFHZ, and the donors for giving me the opportunity to further my education. I will be able to help my family move forward while fulfilling my dreams by studying and training in what I am passionate about and using my talents as an artist.”

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.