Three Socorro Independent School District seniors were recently surprised with a $10,000 scholarship from The Great Khalid Foundation.
The foundation is the SISD alumnus’ non-profit organization created to give back to the families in the El Paso community.
Steven Phan from Montwood High School, Celeste Barron from El Dorado, and Halie Chavira from Eastlake were the first recipients of the foundation’s Performing Arts Scholarships.
The students were presented the awards by Linda Wolfe, the foundation’s executive director and Khalid’s mother.
“We are excited that our first initiative as a formal organization is providing educational support for talented students in our community that dream of sharing their gifts with the world,” Wolfe said. “Our goal is to alleviate some of the financial burden on students and their families so they can go out and do great things with their creative gifts. It’s an honor to be a part of their journey as artists.”
The three surprise announcements were made at school assemblies in the presence of family and friends. The winners graciously accepted the awards and thanked the foundation, parents, and teachers for their support.
“My parents always told me, ‘if you want something, do it,’ and I really wanted this,” Chavira said. “I was not a good guitar player in the beginning but I practiced a lot. I play my guitar before school, during lunch, and after I do my homework. I’m always trying to learn new songs, chords and strum patterns to improve myself.”
“I started crying when I saw the video,” Barron said. “I am really appreciative of them because this was such an amazing thing to do … tohelp the arts and support young musicians by helping us pay for college so we can fulfill our dreams.”
The Great Khalid Foundation’s Performing Arts Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship awarded to high school seniors pursuing higher education in a performing arts program, according to the foundation’s press release.
Applicants submitted transcripts to show their academic achievements, wrote essays explaining what they hope to become, and a performance video showcasing their artistic talents.
“I submitted a piece by Pyotr Tchaikovsky that had a sentimental approach,” Phan said. “The composer found refuge in the music, and that really spoke to me. My goal is to take my music for people in dark corners who need light and need hope.”
Phan was the first student surprised with the award. The French horn player plans to study music at the University of North Texas in Denton.
Barron, a viola player, will study music education at the University of Texas at El Paso and play in the UTEP Symphony Orchestra. Chavira will attend McMurry University and hopes to join the music production industry and compose her own music.