It was my pleasure to speak at the fifth grade graduation at the Rufino Mendoza Elementary School this morning.
I adopted this school on the economically challenged North Side of Fort Worth 13 years ago. I wanted to reach out to the community and support our children.
Today I donated five scholarships and have given a total of 20 to Mendoza students over the last four years.
To obtain one, students won challenging math, reading, science, writing, leadership, and music competitions. They submitted science projects, wrote essays, made speeches, balanced checkbooks, and identified musical composers.
When each winner’s name was announced, parents and family members shouted out with joy. One could feel that young lives were being changed and that their futures shone brightly.
Each winner was fitted with a cap from the school he or she wants to attend. You can see Harvard, Notre Dame, University of Texas, Texas A & M, Baylor, TCU, and University of North Texas caps in this photo.
The children’s desired fields of study were also impressive. They include environmental engineering, nursing, science, criminology, culinary arts, zoology, art, and computers.
Every year, I leave the graduation feeling that our city and our country are heading in the right place. Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world, as Nelson Mandela wrote.
During the school year, I mentor and encourage these children and support the school financially.
One of my favorite days is Career Day when I urge them to work hard, attend colleges and graduate schools, and find the most interesting and financially rewarding career. One teacher who heard me speak to her class came up this morning and asked me to speak to a school-wide assembly next year to motivate all of the students.
I also enjoy working with the children in the after-school fitness club and encouraging them to be physically fit, one of my passions. I walk and run with them and tell them that there is a huge correlation between a strong body and strong mind.
Mexican American College Education (MACE) Fund