Bend Walmart Gifts 5K in Latinx Scholarships

Nine high school seniors participating in Central Oregon Community College’s (COCC) Ganas program, a four-day residential summer symposium for Latinx students held in June, received some surprise scholarship support thanks to a $5,000 contribution by the Bend Walmart store.

On the last night of Ganas, after students delivered public speaking presentations that touched on their own personal stories and struggles, Kirsten Twiss, the store’s manager, presented the surprise check to the students on behalf of Bend Walmart. “Being able to give back to the community is part of who we are,” said Twiss. “To some students, the scholarships are a symbol of hope, hope that perhaps they had not envisioned before,” she added. Bend’s Walmart has supported the Ganas program in the past, donating art supplies and snacks.

Ganas offers Latinx teenagers a close look at college life—the students stay at COCC’s Wickiup Hall and learn about academic programs while also celebrating their heritage. It’s a part of COCC’s mission to lift Latinx high school graduation rates in Oregon—which hovered at 72 percent for the 2016-17 year, according to the Oregon Department of Education—and underscore higher education.

Other scholarship dollars came in as well. “We were able to give out scholarships because of grants from Walmart, the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Central Oregon Latino Partnership Program and the Migrant Education Program,” reported Evelia Sandoval, COCC’s Latinx program coordinator.

For more information, contact Evelia Sandoval, COCC’s Latinx program coordinator, at 541-318-3726 or

Walmart gifts scholarships