Wearing their signature headpieces of the white fez, members of the Order of Alhambra Mosara Caravan No. 260 of McAllen, Texas had the opportunity to meet the 2011-2012 recipients of their scholarship fund to The University of Texas-Pan American Aug. 8.
This was an opportunity for the organization to come face to face with the UTPA students who will benefit from the Order of Alhambra Scholarships this fall 2011 semester and UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen, who thanked them for their generous contribution. The group, a fraternal order of Catholic men, is known for its charitable work and providing assistance, education and residences for persons with mental disabilities as well as granting scholarships to students majoring in special education.
"Thank you for helping UTPA students and being the humans that you are," said Nelsen.
The Order, which also commemorates Catholic historical places, events and persons of international or regional importance, met with 11 UTPA students who each qualified for the $1,000 scholarship.
The scholarships recipients included Cynthia Perez, Mission; Berenice Reser, McAllen; Thomas Hernandez Jr., Edinburg; Cristina Ochoa, San Juan; Diana Guevara, Mercedes; Cristina Reyna, Edinburg; Ashley Lopez, McAllen; Annabel Molina, Weslaco; Jennifer Garcia, Edinburg; Amador Cantu, Edinburg; and Aimee Rivas, Weslaco.
Members of the Order of Alhambra who attended the gathering included Ruben de Leon, grand commander; Norm Jensen, grand scribe; Ralph Cantu, master of the oasis; Arcadio "Felo" Guerra, historiographer; Alfredo "Fred" Moreno, master of the wardrobe; Rene Garcia, captain of the body of the guard; and Jose Eduardo Guerra, grand advocate.
"We need more students going into the field of special education. I feel that with this little incentive, giving a $1,000 to each student, we will be able to get more people going into the special education field," said De Leon.
Reser, who has a form of spina bifida that almost left her paralyzed and two children with special needs, said this scholarship was a blessing, as it will help her get closer to her dream of becoming a vocational rehabilitation counselor.
"I was grateful for the scholarship because one day I want to open up my own practice and help people with disabilities. Because I have gone through so much with my own disabilities I think that I can show others there are no excuses when it comes to their education," Reser said.
For more information on how to invest in UTPA, contact the Office of Development at (956) 665-5301.