For most people, the bright lights and glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip stand for a few things. Education is usually not one of those things. That changed Tuesday when the Cosmopolitan became a bright spot for more than 100 Valley families and their students.

The Cosmopolitan Hotel donated more than a million dollars to the AAA Scholarship Foundation to help students attend schools they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Esteban, Israel, and Enrique Padilla are three of those students.

“I’m just so excited to go to school,” 7-year-old Esteban Padilla said. 

That wasn’t always the case, but thanks to the Scholarship Foundation, the three brothers, who once struggled in public school, look forward to classes in their new private school.

Their mom, Aracely Delacruz, couldn’t afford to send them to a private school where they could get the attention they needed.

“For all three boys it’s very hard,” Delacruz said. “ It’s very expensive. I’m a single parent so I wouldn’t be able to afford it.” 

Tuesday, the family was awarded the scholarships a second time.

Kerri Vaughan is the Managing Director of the AAA Scholarship Fund. She says since 2015, 20 million dollars from the valley’s corporate community has made these types of stories possible.

“It’s life-changing, it really is,” Vaughan said. “A typical parent… their child has been struggling for some time at their assigned school, so this is really that lifesaver that’s thrown out to them to get that child to thrive.”

Parents and their students must apply for the scholarship every year, and meet income requirements.

For the Padilla brothers, the scholarship has made all the difference.

“This scholarship is very very amazing,” explained nine-year-old Israel Padilla. “It helped me a lot, and God blessed me with it and my brothers. It’s just amazing.

The deadline to apply for a scholarship for the 2018-19 school year has passed.  For more information on applying for a scholarship for the 2019-20 school year, you can visit the AAA Scholarship Foundation’s website.