I wanted to thank the Fort Worth community for the privilege of practicing law in Fort Worth for the past 35 years. This morning it was with great pride that my firm donated seven scholarships totaling $3,500.00 to fifth grade students to start them on their paths of achieving their college dreams.
I loved attending the graduation ceremony at Rufino Mendoza Elementary School where I have volunteered for the last 10 years. When each scholarship winner was announced, there were screams of joy from students and parents. Each child ran to the front and was fitted with a cap from the university he or she wants to attend. In addition to Texas universities, the two young men on the bottom right hope to attend prestigious MIT and Notre Dame. The students were also given a plaque to remind them to keep studying hard so they can achieve their dreams. These children hope to become doctors, engineers, singers, and business people. I met with them to judge the awards and was impressed with their ambition and talent. The faculty and a foundation donated three more scholarships. This is the first time Mendoza had ever handed out these awards and it is only the third school in the Fort Worth ISD to even participate in this exciting program.
I was also delighted to listen to the excellent keynote speech given by my paralegal, Sandra Sigala, who graduated from Texas Christian University in December. She inspired the students and serves as a wonderful role model for them.
In the last ten years, I have had the opportunity to work with the dedicated teachers, staff and students to try to make a difference in the children’s lives. My goal has been to help students excel in academics, physical fitness and personal achievements. I have contributed educational tools and books, helped with homework and interacted with them in their after school program, at career days, and at other activities. As a runner and fitness advocate, I have encouraged the kids to eat healthy foods exercised with them, coached them, sponsored them, and cheered them on at their races. I want the children to know that people in the community care about their futures.
The scholarships were awarded through the Mexican
American College Education Fund, the only program of its kind in the United States. MACE was founded
in 1969 to encourage Hispanic students to pursue a college education and to provide the financial help to reach this goal. After awarding money to high school seniors, it also began donating $500.00 scholarship to fifth grade students two years ago. The organization also takes high school students and their parents to Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Arlington for field trips, as most have never been on a college campus before. Only 14% of Latinos graduate from college, but MACE proudly reports that 85% of its award-winners have either graduated or are attending college, a remarkable statistic. MACE awards about 90 scholarships totaling more than $50,000 each year. You can make a tax-deductible donation to MACE by clicking on this link.