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UTPA and other Valley Go Centers receive support from McDonald's owners/operators
Posted: 04/06/2006
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In a show of support for Go Centers at The University of Texas-Pan American and at other Rio Grande Valley colleges and high schools, local McDonald's owner-operators have produced 750,000 tray liners for use in stores to encourage young students to go to college as part of the statewide College for Texans campaign.

The tray liners, which appeared in McDonald's locations in Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy and Starr counties starting March 20, provide college entrance testing deadlines and information and contact numbers for Go Centers at UTPA, the University of Texas-Brownsville/Texas Southmost College, Texas State Technical College, and South Texas College.

Pictured at a recent unveiling of the McDonald's tray liners supporting RGV Go Centers are front left to right Business, Education and Technology Academy (BETA) students Javier Lara, Mellissa Cruz, and Aliver Lozano, all BETA Go Center G-force members. Rear left to right are Dr. John Edwards, UTPA vice president for Enrollment and Student Services; Felipe Salinas, UTPA director of College Access and Support Programs; Lisa Prieto, UTPA associate director of the Valley Outreach Center; Miriam Ochoa, BETA counselor; Dr. Marla Guerra, superintendent, South Texas ISD; Jeff Weller, McDonald's director of operations; and Adan Farias, BETA principal.
Printed by the Rio Grande Valley McDonald's Co-Op, an owner-operators association for the four Valley counties, the tray liners feature collegiate G-Force members from UTPA and high school G-force members from the Business, Education and Technology Academy (BETA) of the South Texas Independent School District. The tray liners will be in use until the supply is exhausted.

Jeff Weller, local McDonald's director of operations, said McDonald's was pleased to support this critical effort.

"It is important to encourage all Valley school children to pursue a higher education. It is good for them personally and it's good for the Rio Grande Valley," he said.

Through peer group members called G-Force teams at colleges and high schools, Go Centers provide students and parents in the community with information and assistance in researching and applying for college and financial aid opportunities all in an effort to encourage greater college attendance by students in Texas.

This effort by McDonalds is the latest in a partnership with UTPA and its Valley Outreach Center to promote the College for Texans campaign. Following the purchase in 2004 of a former McDonald's restaurant adjacent to UTPA's annex location in Edinburg for use as the UTPA Go Center, McDonald's gave the University a $30,000 gift to fund high school G-Force training. In addition, the funds support the work of the UTPA collegiate G-Force as they visit high schools and middle schools to launch Go Centers and provide ongoing mentoring services to their G-Force team members.

Most recently, the RGV McDonald's Co-Op announced it will provide up to $4,000 for T-shirts for collegiate and high school G-Force members from throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

"We appreciate the commitment of the McDonald's owners as we work together to promote the importance of a college education in the Rio Grande Valley," said Lisa Prieto, associate director of the UTPA Valley Outreach Center.

For more information, contact Prieto at 956/292-7562 or via e-mail at lisaprieto@utpa.edu or Felipe Salinas at 956/381-2526 or via e-mail at fsalinas1@panam.edu.

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