Lliana Maya said she hopes that her hard work toward earning a bachelor's degree in accounting will instill in her son the will, drive and determination to earn a college degree.
On Tuesday, Feb. 19, Maya, a junior at The University of Texas-Pan American, was acknowledged for her hard work by UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen and the International Order of Alhambra Mosara Caravan No. 260. She and 10 other UTPA students each received a $1,000 scholarship from the nonprofit fraternal organization to help pay for school.
"It feels wonderful that my hard work and efforts have paid off," Maya said.
Maya, a U.S. Navy veteran and part-time employee at the United States Postal Service, said it has taken her many years to get where she is now toward earning a college degree and raising a son as a single parent.
"To be one of (11) recipients to receive this is overwhelming and I feel a sense of self accomplishment that all of my efforts and all of my sacrifices have not gone in vain," she said.
The local order of Alhambra has been awarding scholarships to UT Pan American students since the mid-1990s, order members said. The scholarships are awarded to students who either have disabilities or who plan to work with people with disabilities.
During a lunch meeting at the International Trade and Technology Building, Nelsen expressed his gratitude to Alhambra members for their generosity.
"I really am grateful to all of you. It shows you care ... you are going to help people in ways that they didn't have a chance," Nelsen said. "I thank you for doing this."
Alhambra members said the organization's contribution is the least they could do to help students.
"We're just so happy we could do it," said Norm Jensen, Grand Scribe and Grand Chamberlain of the local Alhambra order. "We were so happy with so many applicants this year."
The order received 18 applications from students and members spent hours poring over applications to determine who would receive scholarships.
Maya and fellow recipients said the scholarships will help ease the burden of finding enough money to pay for school.
The International Order of Alhambra is a fraternal organization of Catholic men dedicated to assisting people with developmental disabilities. The order's mission is to provide assistance, education and residences for people with developmental disabilities; identify, mark, preserve and commemorate Catholic historical places, events and persons of internationals or regional importance; and promote fraternalism and sociability among its members and their families.
To learn more about how you can help students at UTPA, contact the Development Office at (956) 665-5301 or visit the office's website.