DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Amigos Latinos Alumni Society and the Latino Center at Wright State University held their eighth annual gala this evening, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

The Amigos Latinos Gala was a sold-out event on Oct. 7, with a night of food, dancing, live music, awards and a silent auction, all to give back scholarships to Latino students at Wright State.

The gala is the signature fundraiser for the Amigos Latinos scholarship. The theme this year for the gala was “Our Journey.” 

The goal is to help support the mission and work of the Latino Center and further programs at Wright State.

“Latinos are the fastest growing demographics in the nation, one of the fastest growing in Dayton,” Catherine Hernandez Hogan, Latino Center Assistant Director, said. “And so it’s so important that we support them in their educational journey because when they get their degree, it’s going to impact their families for generations.”

Throughout the evening of fun, the gala also awarded various community members who have supported the Latino community in the past few years, as well as presenting 13 students with scholarships.

The gala paid tribute to their theme with a keynote speaker, who shared his journey and highlighted the importance of sticking to your journey no matter the obstacles.

“If you stay, stay focused. And you know why you’re doing that, I think things are going to get better,” Felipe Lopez Sustaita, keynote speaker, said. “I ended up earning a doctorate degree. I went straight, got a master’s, and then went and got my doctorate degree. Knowing the struggle, right, like people closer to the to the pain should be closer to the power.”

Sustaita also says a fundraiser like this is important to be a part of, because it goes towards something special.

“So rewarding and so important, because I was there once, right? I was one of those students that didn’t know if I could get to the next semester because I didn’t have the funds. So just seeing that support makes me just the generosity of people. It is something that is very special.”

All proceeds raised will go towards scholarships for students as well as programs held by the Latino center.