McArthur High School senior Gerson Moreno was looking for an opportunity to help children who were facing major health problems, so he began volunteering at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. He would spend time with the children building with LEGO blocks and would also help them paint.

Eventually he created a school club called the Happiness Project and the members would visit with children at Joe DiMaggio.

“I go the hospital about twice a month,” Moreno said. “Eventually I was a able to bring about 10 students. We play songs for the children and spend time with them.

For his efforts, Moreno received a Salute to Education scholarship, which is funded by Ford. Next fall he will attend the University of Central Florida, where he will be part of the Compass program. He explored various career options in engineering and has a mentor. “I am looking forward to going to the University of Central Florida,” he said.

Another McArthur High School student, junior Kenney Nguyen, received a scholarship to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during the summer. He was one of 80 applicants accepted out of 2,400 applicants for the six-week residential program at MIT, where the students learn about college life and study with highly regarded professors and the focus is on math and science. “I love to study physics and I am looking forward to going to MIT this summer,” he said. “I just applied for the program and I was glad to be selected.”

Junior Javier Franco was also selected for the program. “I love to study computers and am glad I will get to study with the best at MIT. I will take five classes and I hope to learn a lot,” he said. “I am looking forward to being on campus.”

Student Nicolas Caminero will also study at MIT this summer.