Cinco de Mayo auction rings up cash for students

Members and friends of the Latino community celebrated Cinco de Mayo this month with a silent auction to raise money for a new scholarship fund.

Organized by the Latino Faculty and Staff Association at the University of Houston-Victoria, the event was the young organization’s first scholarship fundraiser and took place on May 5 at the University Commons building. The funds will be used for the new Latino Faculty and Staff Scholarship Fund. 

Karla Hernandez DeCuir

“One of our core values of LFSA is to find funds to help students,” said Karla Hernandez DeCuir, president of LFSA and senior director of enrollment management and external affairs for UHV in Katy.

LFSA’s mission is to support Hispanic students at UHV, which was designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2013.

“The LFSA scholarship fund was created with the goal of helping our students continue their education while also supporting students who come from Latin backgrounds, whether they are of Latin origin themselves or want to support those students who have Latin origins,” she said.

The organization’s goal is to offer its first scholarship in the upcoming fall semester, with the recipient being selected based on GPA and an essay explaining how Latinos help strengthen the workforce, she said, adding, “Anyone, not just Latinos, will be able to apply.”

The auction generated sales of $859. In addition, donations from UHV employees will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the university, DeCuir said.

About 50 people, including UHV students and employees, dropped by during the two-hour event to peruse and bid on auction items, and attendees were also able to place bids online, she said. The auction included 29 donated items, including artwork, restaurant gifts, baked items, and gift cards ranging from $10 to $1,100 in value.

Rebecca Montez

“This number far exceeded our expectations,” said Rebecca Montez, an association member and an assistant in UHV’s Human Resources and Talent Development Office. “It was really nice to see that everybody was willing to participate and donate to a good cause.”

The items were donated by 16 members of the community, including UHV employees and Victoria businesses. The largest gift was from Victoria AllStar Dance Academy, which provided venue space for up to 250 people for an event, such as a wedding, baby shower or other gathering.

LFSA leaders expressed gratitude to its Cinco de Mayo event donors:

  • Chick-fil-A Victoria
  • CrossFit 302
  • La Original Tortilla Company
  • Victoria AllStar Dance Academy
  • Del Papa Distributing
  • Integrity Defensive Arts
  • UHV Center for Regional Collaboration
  • Erika Vermillion
  • Catherine Swift
  • Hannah Moss
  • Ashley Sisson
  • Nicole Eugene
  • Eva Hernandez
  • Erica Valle
  • Bianca Singh

The next LFSA event will be a virtual event featuring a keynote guest speaker on June 16. For more information, visit

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.