Armstrong gets Gatsby glam at Growing Dreams Gala


By Emily Smith, Staff Writer

Walking through the doors of the Armstrong Center on April 25 was like walking out of a time machine into the 1920s. The Growing Dreams Gala event was a Great Gatsby-themed soiree, as evidenced by the abundance of flapper-inspired outfits, bow ties and suspenders.

The Hispanic Outreach Leadership at Armstrong program, The Armstrong Alpha Pi Chapter of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity and The Beat Alpha Chapter of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha hosted the event.

“The turnout is great. This is HOLA’s tenth year anniversary. Since it’s one of the biggest, we had to go all-out and the best way to do it is to go as extreme as a big party like Gatsby,” HOLA vice president Rolando Ramirez said.

All of the proceeds from the ticket sales went towards the 2014-15 scholarship awards for Hispanic students. HOLA raised $4,000 and gave away two $2,000 scholarships to deserving members of the organization, Marisol Estrada and Karin Ruiz.

The Armstrong Alpha Pi Chapter of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity also raised $500 in scholarship funds and granted them to Elaine Mills.

“It’s wonderful. The fact that people come together for a great cause,” said adviser of HOLA Melody Rodriguez.

President Yair Munoz personally acknowledged Rodriguez with a certificate of appreciation for being with the HOLA organization from the start.

Armstrong president Linda Bleicken expressed her adoration for the yearly event. “This is one of the fourth or fifth galas that I and my husband Carl have been to, and each one seems to get better,” Bleicken said.

After the commencements, select members of the organizations performed a choreographed dance to Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” from The Great Gatsby soundtrack.

“Everything is amazing but simple. The beauty is in the details. Everything that HOLA does is great. I never had a prom so I feel like this is my prom,” said freshman music major Karin Ruiz.

DJ Zodiac got the real party started and everyone took to the dance floor.

“It’s great! I like the atmosphere. It’s fun and everyone is really inviting,” freshman civil engineering major Nicholas Carrasco said.

Overall, the event was a huge success with over 200 people in attendance. The three hosting organizations worked together to provide a fun night for everyone.

“We wanted to bring the experience without the expense,” Rodriguez said. “They made it by donating their time.”

This enjoyable event paired with a great cause made for a unique and unforgettable way to wrap up the spring semester.