Via the University of Texas at El Paso second annual Operation College Bound enrollment services, officials disbursed more than $560,000 in scholarships to Socorro Independent School District seniors.
The UTEP Scholars Excellence Program scholarships ranged from $4,000 to $32,000. About 15,000 incoming college freshmen applied for the UTEP scholarships this year.
The top school in the district and one of the highest in Region 19 was Montwood High School with $122,000 and 27 scholarship recipients.
El Dorado and Americas high schools each had $95,000 in scholarship funds and 22 recipients. Pebble Hills High School earned $91,000 and had 20 students, followed by Eastlake High School with $87,000 and 18 scholarships, and Socorro High School with $75,000 and 16 scholarship recipients.
SISD does excellent in earning UTEP scholarships, said Tammi Mackeben, SISD’s director of guidance and counseling.
“We are very proud of all our students who applied,” Mackeben said. “It takes a lot of work and ambition, so we are really excited for them for getting out there and applying for those scholarships.”
Alisa Rowe, a student at Pebble Hills, had planned to attend another college, but once she received a UTEP scholarship, the senior started thinking about becoming a Miner.
“This is exciting,” said Rowe, who wants to be an aerospace engineer. “I really wasn’t expecting this. I have a lot to consider now.”
Jose Caballero, a senior at Montwood, also wants to follow in the same profession. He is thankful for the scholarship from UTEP.
“This is a celebration for our 27 seniors, including myself, who received scholarships,” Caballero said. “This is just a testament to show how much here at Montwood we really work and how much we push ourselves. It feels really great. It’s a great honor.”
Megan Mack also was happy to receive a scholarship from UTEP.
“It’s reassuring that I can attend UTEP and have it paid for and covered,” she said. “It would have been difficult otherwise.”
For many students, the scholarships are vital, Mackeben said.
“One of the biggest barriers for students that keeps them from going to college is money, of course,” she said. “So, for the students to receive these scholarships, it is extremely important because we can assure they have the money to go.”
But finances should never be a reason a student does not attend a postsecondary education institution, Mackeben said. There are many ways to get help.
“Students can apply for scholarships still now,” she said. “There are many scholarships that are still available for them. And they can apply for scholarships every single year of their college career. There are so many opportunities to help students. They can talk to any counselor and get help.”