LITTLE ROCK, AR - Each year, UALR holds a special Cinco de Mayo celebration to raise money for scholarships to the University. This year, it's an even bigger party to honor one student in particular - Patricia Guardado.
"She would be here," said Paty's cousin, Gabriela Guardado. "I know she would be here. She'd be eating all this great food, she'd be dancing."
Police believe Guardado disappeared from a parking lot across from UALR October 12th before she ever made it to class. Fishermen found her body four days later in a pond outside of Sweet Home and investigators ruled her disappearance a murder. Police are still looking for her killer.
"She's here with us but we can't see her," said Guardado.
"We're hoping that this will continue to have some resonance with the community to try to help us find whoever did it," said Dr. Terry Trevino-Richard, a UALR sociology professor who helped organize Sunday's event.
One dollar from each participant's entrance fee goes straight into the new Patricia Guardado Scholarship Fund created specifically to help a Latino student go to college.
"She had as her goal to get her degree, to get a good job, to contribute to America," said Dr. Richard.
"That was her dream. That's what she wanted to do. That's what a lot of Hispanics are trying to do right now," said Guardado.
Guardado adds it would bring her a sense of closure to see another student attend college thanks to the Patricia Guardado Scholarship all in honor of her cousin who never got the chance to finish her education.
"All of us Latinos in the community, we want to see more Latinos graduating from college," she said.
The next fund raiser for the scholarship fund is scheduled for October 26th at the Governor's Mansion. So far, about $3,500 has been donated to the Guardado Scholarship Fund. Dr. Richard says in order for the University to award this scholarship to a Latino student, annually, he will need to raise $15,000. You can mail your donations to P.O. Box 55103, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72211 or call Dr. Richard directly at (501)551-4456 for more information. All checks can be made out to "The Patricia Guardado Memorial Scholarship".
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