FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Hayden Herrera is the first recipient of the Robert and Jamie Pulliza Opportunity Scholarship, the Pullizas recently announced.
"Jamie and I feel very fortunate about the opportunities we’ve had," Pulliza said. "We want to make sure others get those same opportunities, so we’re excited to be able to provide Hayden some help in reaching his goal of graduating from college."
Pulliza, the head volleyball coach at the University of Arkansas, and wife Jamie established a scholarship for a non-athlete based on academic achievement, leadership and community engagement, interests and recommendations.
Herrera is a freshman this semester at the University. Interested in television broadcasting, Herrera attended Har-Ber High School in Springdale, Ark., where he was a member of the high school’s television crew for three years.
"When I heard about the scholarship, I was very excited because I was still looking for some opportunities for this school year," said Herrera. "I was excited that there was something available for freshmen of Hispanic descent in our area. I applied, told my story and got to meet Coach Pulliza. I was very excited when he told me I had been selected."
Herrera has also interned for local television stations and plans to pursue a career in broadcasting after graduation.
"I’ve always wanted to go to the University of Arkansas," Herrera said. "I’ve grown up in Springdale rooting for the Hogs. I’ve found out more about the broadcasting department on campus and where some of its graduates have moved on to and I’m excited about being a part of the program."
Herrera is a strong student as well, graduating with a 3.88 grade point average in high school. He has also been involved the community serving on a mission trip to Cambodia in 2006, working with Youth for Christ, student council, FCA and he is a member of the National Honor Society.
"We were looking for someone committed to academic excellence," Pulliza said. "We also wanted someone committed to their community and someone interested in doing things the right way. So when we met with Hayden and his family, we knew he had those characteristics. He is dedicated to his education and outside activities."