Uplift Scholar Surprised with $25,000 Pizza Hut Life Unboxed Scholarship

May 7, 2018 4:45 PM ET

Over the last few years, Pizza Hut has strengthened our community partnership with Uplift Education, a Dallas-based charter school network dedicated to providing college preparatory education to North Texas students. One component of this partnership is the Pizza Hut Life Unboxed Scholarship, a $25,000 scholarship awarded to one eligible Uplift senior. After receiving many applications and conducting a thorough review process, we narrowed the applicant pool down to one recipient.

The winner of the 2018 Life Unboxed Scholarship is … Erika Urbina!

Erika is a senior at Uplift Infinity Preparatory with a bright future ahead. This fall, she plans to study business at the University of Texas at Austin. “I want to live in a world that I can grow, learn and gain experience. Education has always been important to me, and now more than ever do I want to continue on this academic path. The Life Unboxed Scholarship will definitely help me on this path,” said Erika.

In addition to academic success, candidates were evaluated on their love for learning, a demonstrated commitment to college and a high level of community involvement and character. Erika fits the bill perfectly. She is an outstanding student and member of the DFW community. Highlights include:

  • Volunteers at a local church to collectively provide more than 2,500 sandwiches to the homeless each month
  • Serves as a YMCA children’s activities coordinator
  • Achieved best vocalist in competition
  • Awarded first place in the Science Fair
  • Active as a member of the National Hispanic Institute
  • Held leadership roles such as Class President, Vice President and team captain of the debate club

Erika is one of 659 Uplift seniors graduating in May 2018. She was notified of her application status at Uplift’s College Signing Day, an annual pep rally where Uplift seniors share their intended college while parents, teachers and fellow scholars cheer them on. Pizza Hut U.S. President Artie Starrs addressed the large crowd with a positive message before surprising Erika with the announcement that she is the winner of this year’s Life Unboxed Scholarship. Artie commented, “We had the opportunity to interview many incredible candidates, but there was one who really stood out. Everyone that interviewed Erika came away inspired and feeling a little taller after meeting her. She’s a prime example of how both Uplift and Pizza Hut help people become their best.”

In total, Uplift Education’s seniors from the class of 2018 earned 2,842 acceptance letters to more than 300 different colleges, a testament to the quality of education. Yasmin Bhatia, Uplift CEO, said, “We are so grateful to Pizza Hut for investing in our scholars and going above and beyond to commit their time and resources to support Uplift’s Road to College program. This generous scholarship is one of the many ways they give back to the community and put a focus on high quality education.”

Congrats to Erika Urbina and the entire senior class! We look forward to continuing this scholarship, while helping Uplift scholars grow for many years to come.