Student members of the Golden Key International Honour Society at The University of Texas-Pan American started the fall 2008 semester off by hosting a school supply drive to help local elementary students.
The honor society, in partnership with Wal-Mart store No. 429, provided 50 children at Monte Cristo Elementary in Edinburg with backpacks complete with all the school supplies required by the district for the academic year, as part of their drive titled "Education is the Golden Key to Success."
Fonseca said this particular elementary school was chosen based on its proximity to the University and the need of the students at the school.
"The school is really near the university and we thought that if we really want to make a change, we should start with the neighborhoods around us," she said. "Also, we knew that many students from Monte Cristo Elementary had been affected by the recent heavy rains. Many parents were struggling with the decision of fixing their homes or buying the needed school supplies for their children. It was really touching when the parents approached us and thanked us for the help."
This is not the first time that the honor society has helped the community with a project of this nature, and they are committed to making it a routine, Fonseca said.
"We want this activity to be a tradition, so we're going to work really hard to increase the number of school supplies we can provide. Also we are going to keep in contact with the school to help them with specific events they have for the kids," she said. "We also are planning to volunteer at a library to read to the children and also to have them read to us, so they can practice and improve."
UTPA's chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society is a nationally recognized honor society. Golden Key International Honour Society is the world's leading collegiate honor society, providing leadership, service, and networking opportunities, as well as, more than $500,000 each year in scholarships to its members. Golden Key members are selected from the top 15 percent of their class. Its members are exceptional students with strong academic backgrounds and leadership. With more than 360 chapters throughout the world, Golden Key members are dedicated to helping their communities through service projects initiated by the chapter as collaborative efforts with other organizations.
"We believe that education is a gift given to us and we don't want to keep it for ourselves," Fonseca said. "As students we have struggled with prejudice, peers trying to keep us from studying, money, etc., but we have overcome them, many times with the help of others around us. Now is our time to give back what we've been given."