Cecilia Escobedo, 19, clutched a chemistry book as she thanked an AEP-Central Power and Light Company (AEP-CPL) representative for a $1,000 scholarship she and 11 other students at The University of Texas-Pan American received from the local utility company.
"This book cost $100, and I want you to know that I probably couldn't have bought it without the scholarship," Escobedo said at a luncheon held at the University's International Trade and Technology Building on Sept. 14. "Thank you for believing in me and for selecting me for the scholarship. I won't let you down."
Jerry Don Wilson, community service manager for AEP-CPL, said the company hosted the luncheon to get to know some of the scholarship students.
"It's such a pleasure to get to know these students," Wilson said. "What I hope is that the scholarships will help students get an education and that they will then stay here in the Valley to share their education, training and talent."
This is the ninth year that the utility company has provided 12 scholarships of $1,000 to UTPA students. The scholarships are renewable for a student's undergraduate education as long as the student remains in good standing.
Escobedo is a second-year recipient of the scholarship. The middle child of nine siblings, Escobedo is the first in her family to attend a university and only the second to have graduated high school.
"I am really excited to be here and meet one of my benefactors," said Escobedo. "The scholarship has given me a chance to go to college, and I will never forget that."
Noel De La Cruz, 18, said the scholarship was a big boost.
"I was able to purchase my books and pay my tuition with the scholarship," said De La Cruz. "And it will help with transportation. I really appreciate it."
All of the scholarship recipients were business and engineering majors, and most work either part-time or full-time to support themselves.
"It has always been a great pleasure to give away these scholarships, especially to students of such a high caliber," said Julio Reyes, AEP-CPL community service manager.
CPL offers scholarships at 15 Texas colleges and universities: Bee County College; Del Mar College; Laredo Junior College; Southwest Texas Jr. College; Sul Ross; Texas A&M University in Kingsville, College Station, Corpus Christi, and Laredo; Texas State Technical College; Texas Tech University; University of Houston; University of Texas at Austin; The University of Texas-Pan American; and Victoria College.
Depending on which university is chosen, scholarships are given to students majoring in particular fields (Engineering, Business and Tech-Prep to name a few).
Selection of recipients is made by the scholarship committees at the individual universities. Eligible applicants must graduate at least in the top third of their class. Preference is given to residents of the CPL service area.
Once awarded, a scholarship is continued throughout the normal period of the course of study if the student maintains full-time status and a 3.0 grade average on a 4.0 scale. Scholarship amounts vary by college.
For more information regarding the CPL Scholarships, contact the above university or college you are interested in attending.