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MDC Announces the Winners of the 2011 Francisco Foundation Scholarships


Sen. Javier Souto, winners Melissa Larrocha and Chabeli Castillo, and MDC Provost Dr. Rolando Montoya

Miami, January 11, 2011 - The winners of the longstanding Francisco Foundation Scholarships at Miami Dade College were recognized at a brief awards ceremony January 11, 2011, at the Wolfson Campus. The winners are Melissa Larrocha, Heriberto Rodriguez-Gallo, and Chabeli Castillo, and will each receive $2,500 scholarships.  

As is customary for the Francisco Foundation, winners were selected on the basis of demonstrated leadership, community service, academic excellence and a love of democracy and freedom. Applicants were required to submit a 1,100 word essay explaining what freedom and democracy mean to along with their most recent transcript, a current resume, and two letters of recommendation attesting to academic performance, leadership and character.

Melissa Larrocha was born in Chile and is a Mass Communications/Broadcast Journalism major at the Honors College Dual Language Program at InterAmerican Campus. Her goal is to become the Producer of a network news station in the future.

Heriberto Rodriguez-Gallo is also a member of the Honors College, at the North Campus. His major is Mechanical Engineering. Thanks to the Honors College he has been able to attend important trips including a visit to Washington, D.C. He aspires to become an engineer.

Chabeli Castillo was born and raised in Cuba. As a result of the island’s despotic government, Cubans are forced to leave their country in search of justice, respect, and human rights. Chabeli is one of them. In 2008, upon graduating from high school in Havana, she immigrated to the United States. She immediately enrolled at Miami Dade College, and became an active member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the National Science Foundation “STEM Innovations Generating Maximum Achievements” program, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Chabeli was also accepted into the rigorous Honors College Program at Miami Dade College.

The scholarships were created in honor of Rogelio “Francisco” Gonzalez Corzo who was executed by Fidel Castro’s government in 1961 when he was 28-years old for attempts to subvert the dictatorship. He was the head of the underground anti-Castro resistance effort called “Movement to Recover the Revolution.”

“He was also a brilliant student; a man of unparalleled intelligence and charisma,” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner, Sen. Javier Souto from District 10, who serves on the Francisco Foundation Board. “He was a student of democracy and human rights whose life was cut way too short by Castro.”

For more information regarding scholarship opportunities at MDC, please visit

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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