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George Hart, '11 calls his family with the good news: He won the 18th annual Romero Scholarship an honor named to a BC junior who demonstrates a commitment to the values and ideals inherent in the life of Oscar A Romero, the Archbishop of El Salvador. (Photo by Suzanne Camarata)

Living with 'Faith In My Heart'

Family provides strength and inspiration for Romero Scholarship winner
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By Melissa Beecher | Chronicle Staff
Published: March 18, 2010
Moments after George Hart '11 accepted the 2010 Archbishop Oscar A. Romero Scholarship, he picked up his cell phone and tried to speak over the applause.

"Mom," he said. "I won." 

As he dissolved into tears, Hart was quickly surrounded by dozens of friends, offering congratulations, hugs and handshakes.

Hart was named the 18th annual Romero Scholarship recipient, recognized for demonstrating a commitment to the values and ideals inherent in the life of Archbishop of El Salvador Oscar Romero, an outspoken advocate for the poor and oppressed who was assassinated 30 years ago. The scholarship covers 75 percent of senior year tuition.

On Saturday, hundreds of faculty, staff, alumni and students gathered at a celebration at the Yawkey Center's Murray Room, where they enjoyed traditional food, music and dancing. But the night belonged to the scholarship finalists, each accomplished in leadership and community service: juniors Eduardo Dorado, Eric Lopez, Elizabeth Aleman Rodriguez and Hart. Read more here.

Also honored at the event was Maria Luisa Wilson-Portuondo, LGSOE '73, the recipient of the 2010 John A. Dinneen, SJ, Hispanic Alumni Community Service Award.

Hart, a major in political science, philosophy and history, said he hopes to become a high school history teacher before pursing a career in politics.

"I feel a sense of duty to contribute to the paradoxical public school which gave so much to me; yet it had, and still has, so many shortcomings," Hart wrote in his application.

While supporting himself through the past three years at Boston College, Hart has established himself as a student leader, serving as co-president of the Organization of Latin American Affairs, facilitator of the Dialogues on Race, an EcoRepresentative and recently leading the AHANA Leadership Council's "Strides against Breast Cancer" fundraising team.

At the banquet, Hart offered thanks to his family in Miami, who were unable to make the trip.

"I have to thank the heroes in my life, my mother and my father. I am a first-generation college student and I wouldn't be here without the sacrifices they have made," said Hart. "They could not be here tonight, but I know they are here in spirit."

Hart also thanked his grandmother, who is fighting breast cancer, and his little sister, who has been a constant support and inspiration, he said.

"I'd also like to thank Archbishop Romero, for providing me with guidance and inspiration. He once said, 'I ask the Holy Spirit to make me walk the path of truth and never let myself be carried away by flattery nor by fear of ever offending anyone but our Lord,'" said Hart.

"Reading his diaries, speeches and biography help me realized how despite the doubts that confronts me every day of my life, the fear that surrounds me everywhere that I walk, I cannot be fearful with faith in my heart. Faith in my heart that I try to walk the righteous path. Faith in my heart that I'm working toward making the world a better place that Fr. Romero strived for. Faith in my heart that I have the support of my family and friends no matter where I go in this life."

University President William P. Leahy said that much work remains in realizing Fr. Romero's vision.

"I am reminded once again tonight about how much Boston College can do and how much it needs to do for the Hispanic community throughout not only our country but throughout the world," said Fr. Leahy. "I hope we also take a moment to realize tonight how much has been done, what needs to be done and how much we together can do."

To see a video of the banquet: