The Selection Process
Viola's Huge Heart Foundation works with various schools throughout Greater San Antonio, to identify students in need. Our goal is to help the identified student with the creation and funding of a scholarship for a term of three to four years to aid with tuition and other qualified school associated expenses.
We do not distribute funds directly to individuals, nor do we identify the student in need. Funds distributed from the Foundation may only be used for purposes that would cause the payment to be considered a qualified scholarship under Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code (tuition, enrollment fees, books, supplies and equipment that are required for the course by the educational institution).
Any nonprofit school that has a candidate in need, considering the qualifications below, may apply for aid in creating a scholarship for the candidate. The Foundation's preference is to work with parochial schools in the San Antonio area, but this is not a mandatory requirement. The terms of any scholarship created by the school with funds being contributed by the Foundation must have the following requirements:
- The student must maintain a "B" GPA average (80 average).
- The student must be in need of tuition assistance.
- The scholarship will not exceed a length of four years of assistance to be used for the payment of tuition and associated school expenses.
- The board of the foundation will assess the character of the proposed candidate based on interviews with the student, his or her parents or guardian, teachers, etc.
- The student must be available and willing to participate in any promotional campaigns or advertisements held by the foundation regarding his or her scholarship.
Considering the above criteria, we may elect to aid the selected school in the funding of a scholarship for the identified student. There is no guarantee that a scholarship created by a school will be fully funded by the Foundation. If the Foundation agrees to contribute to a scholarship created for a student, the Foundation will have the sole and exclusive right to determine the amount of funds to be contributed to the scholarship.
Viola's Huge Heart Foundation works with some of the greatest academic institutions in San Antonio to help award students a world class education, all while preparing them to be tomorrow's leaders of their community.
The college preparatory experience at Incarnate Word High School begins on Day One. Every student at the historic, all-girls Catholic school embarks on a modular schedule that mimics a college schedule – with blocks of free time sandwiched between rigorous classes that often meet only three times a week.
Every faculty member provides thoughtful, challenging work—much like a professor at an institution of higher learning. Students learn to tackle an advanced curriculum. They explore electives, like photography and art. They volunteer at school and in the community. They learn to manage their time.
"I'm starting my sixth year," says April Garza, junior-senior counselor at Incarnate Word, "and we've been sending 100 percent of our students to college the entire time I've been here."
Since awarding diplomas to its first high school graduates in 1903, Incarnate Word has become a premier college preparatory institution for young women. Its mission is to prepare students for academic excellence, Christian service and social justice.
Garza attributes much of the school's success to faculty and scheduling. "We simulate the college experience in high school," she says. "Classes are lecture based. Tests are given in a testing center. Students must look and see what day they must take their exam."
The college-like atmosphere can be intimidating, if not overwhelming, Garza says, especially to freshmen. But new students receive help from advisers. Upperclassmen provide mentoring. Teachers are available for extra help.
The system works beautifully. Year after year, students adjust, excel and matriculate to college.
Learn more about Incarnate Word High School
The spirit of Providence Catholic School has inspired students for 60 years. A rigorous academic curriculum prepares the all-female student body for college. A rich faith environment equips everyone – from freshmen to seniors – for service.
Teachers offer Saturday classes. Counselors provide one-on-one college advising and create portfolios for each student. The school offers 13 Advanced Placement courses, five dual credit classes, innovative electives and an internship class for seniors.
The results impress. Every graduating senior last spring was accepted into college. The Class of 2011 earned more than $8 million in scholarships.
"This is a dream of every counselor," says Providence academic counselor Evelyn Griess.
Griess once worked in a large public school and could not give every student individual attention. But she is able to meet with each of 56 Providence seniors and their families.
"I have time to analyze students' academic ability, drive, desire, motivation and field of study," Griess says. "But I am not a lone ranger. We have amazing, dedicated teachers. They are the key to making this all work. I take the delicious residuals and translate them into college scholarships and acceptances."
Some students arrive as freshmen, unsure about college or their ability to succeed. But before long, they receive encouragement from older students and become college motivated.
"You are in a can-do environment and it brushes off on everyone," Griess says. "It's an inbuilt support system. They talk to each other, motivate each other. It's like a wildfire and it catches on."
Learn more about Providence Catholic School
Little Violas are the young ladies that have earned the full ride scholarship offered by Viola’s Huge Heart Foundation. What sets apart these students apart from their peers is their brave, intelligent, and hardworking spirit that embodies the vision of success held by the late Viola Barrios.
“I feel very fortunate to have received this scholarship. It has given me a peace of mind. My mother is a single mom who has been working very hard to keep me in private school.”
Daniela Portillo nurtures a dream as big and beautiful as her heart. It is a dream that motivates her to study hard and serve others in the community. Though she is only 15- years-old and the daughter of a single mother, Daniela aspires to a career in medicine.
“I didn't even know whether I was going to a Catholic high school. I had applied and been accepted to Incarnate Word, but it probably wasn't going to work out.”
"But then something marvelous happened, and that was Viola's Huge Heart Foundation. I could not believe that a family would do so much for one girl, especially me. The more I thought about it, it didn't make sense to me. I was thinking that they should have given a four-year scholarship to someone they knew, rather than me, a random girl from Little Flower School."
“I want to be a pediatrician. I made that decision when I was in the seventh grade.”
In 2013 Daniela Cisneros says she was really surprised when she was picked up to go to the high school she really wanted, and it was all paid for. Now 15 and a sophomore, she’s found Antonian High School treats her like an adult. She’s made lots of new friends, and there are no clicks. And she’s exposed to the world of medicine.
“I was really shocked to be picked for the scholarship. Now I have to plan and focus.”
At 14, Samantha Santos is a freshman at Holy Cross High School. She is the latest recipient of the Foundation scholarship, and she knows well that, like the other recipients before her, she’s in for changes in her life. As her father Juan Santos notes, she’s focusing on high school knowing she’s representing what Viola Barrios stood for.