The purpose of the award is to encourage superior students to excel. The award is not necessarily based on the highest academic standing and takes into account the student’s potential for contributions to the world in the areas of civics, religion, other humanities, business or professions. The award amount is $7,500 and may be given for four years for a possible total of $30,000. A one-time award of $5,000 will be given in the first year of college to the three remaining finalists.
Each of the four finalists this year is representative of an all-around student. All are ranked in the top 10 out of a class of 260 and have a resume that details many and varied activities.
Mrs. Ross Brown, one of the student’s references, describes the first finalist, Andy Dang, as someone who is versatile, effortlessly working with a variety of people and tasks. His busy schedule is proof of this as he takes dual credit and AP classes at A.C. Jones High School and has spent the last three summers completing courses at Coastal Bend College. At the end of the school day, Andy can be found on the court as a three-year member of the A.C. Jones boys basketball team or working at the family business, Sky Nails. Andy wants a career where he can be a person who makes a difference in someone’s life. He will begin his education to become a member of the medical field as a family practitioner at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The second finalist can also be found on the basketball court; Tyler Stewart credits playing this sport with teaching him teamwork and self-discipline. He has used these positive traits and others as he has worked many hours shadowing Dr. Gary Williams, local veterinarian. In fact, his “aha” moment of choosing his career came while working alongside employees at this veterinary practice. Therefore, it is no surprise that Tyler is on his way In 2014 to Aggieland. In the meantime, he continues his involvement in FFA, Key Club, Student Council and other student activities. He feels that his involvement in these organizations will help develop the interests and skills necessary for a practicing veterinarian.
An athletic injury on the soccer field her sophomore year led the third finalist, Estella Sanchez, to her chosen career. Rather than just sit while her teammates trained, she decided to help out in whatever way she could. After the season, she was asked to be football trainer for the fall of 2012. The experience from these two years led Stella to choose physical therapy as her profession, and she will attend the University of Texas. For her remaining time in high school, this junior will stay busy with band, 4-H and National Honor Society. She’ll also find time for her commitments to Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, where she serves as an altar server and a member of the youth organization.
Even as a child, the fourth finalist learned she liked the challenges of problem solving. Kennedy Treviño says, “I dream to be a part of something bigger than myself and make an impact on our world. Becoming an aerospace engineer, I can achieve this.’’ As she faces her future at the University of Texas and beyond, she’s counting on time management skills to become a key part of her life. Kennedy certainly doesn’t have much spare time now as she manages three sports and the Trojan Band. Some of her weekends are occupied by competing with the UIL Academic Team. Roy Hanus says, “She has served the team well, and she is an individual of honesty and integrity.”
Working alongside her seven brothers and sisters as a migrant worker instilled in Dr. Beatriz Espinoza a work ethic that has followed her throughout her education and career. Earning her bachelor of science, master’s and doctor’s degrees in psychology, she has served as a faculty member at several universities.
After serving at this level for 12 years, she began her transition into community college administration.
Dr. Espinoza is now an educator with more than 25 years experience. Her philosophy includes access and success for all students. She attributes her own college success to the support of her family and other people who cared enough to remove barriers, build bridges and track new paths for a first generation college student. Proud to be educating the next generation of professionals at Coastal Bend College, Espinoza says student success is always her first priority. She will ensure that all students have equal access to the opportunities that college provides.