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Lake County Entrepreneur, WGN Reporter to Speak at Scholarship Gala

The Lake County Chamber of Commerce will host its fifth annual Hispanic Scholarship Gala to raise money for college-bound students.

With one month to go, preparations are underway for the fifth annual Lake County Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Scholarship Gala. The event is scheduled for Sept. 21 at the Glen Flora Country Club, 2200 N. Sheridan Road, Waukegan.

The Hispanic Business Group is part of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce. Each year the group hosts this gala as an opportunity to raise money for scholarships that will be given to college-bound students at the LCCC's annual dinner in May. Last year three $1,000 scholarships were awarded to area students.

This year's keynote speaker will be Julian Crews, founder of Old Havana Foods of Grayslake, and reporter for WGN News. Crews offers a great mix of experience beneficial to other business owners, said Shaunese Teamer, executive director of LCCC.

"It's really perfect for us. He brings entrepreneur spirit as a business owner in Lake County, and he has a Hispanic background," Teamer said. "He is very involved and familiar with Hispanic issues."

Crews' parents were born in Cuba, and in an effort to preserve his family's rich traditions he opened Old Havana Foods in Grayslake in December of 2008. The family-operated specialty food company sells all natural, gluten-free sauteed seasonings that are used in many Cuban dishes.

Crews has also traveled to Cuba to report on various stories there including the 1998 visit by Pope John Paul II, and a year later, he accompanied Illinois' Governor and other business leaders to interview Fidel Castro.

"The Latino community is growing so rapidly and it's important we reach out to the bright and talented young kids to help them go to college," Crews said. "It's inspiring to see these businesses come together to support these kids."

Crews said he is also looking forward to sharing his experience in launching Old Havana Foods. "It seems with the way the economy is we all have to become more of an entrepreneur and to find our own niche to launch a business and follow our dreams."

Tickets are still available for the Hispanic Scholarship Gala. Prices are as follows:

  • Individual ticket: $65 / $75 after Sept. 7
  • Pair of tickets: $110 / $120
  • Half Table (four seats): $240 / $280
  • Corporate Table (eight seats): $440 / $520

The event begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. For more information or to register, visit the Lake County Chamber of Commerce website.

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