A DAY TO REMEMBER: TCU AWARDS 13 SENIORS FULL-RIDE SCHOLARSHIPS

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Graphic created by Adviser L.Johnson

By Rosa Vazquez, Itzel Borrego, and Yureni Gutierrez

Twelve seniors received the Texas Christian University Community Scholars Scholarship last month, making them the largest group of SHHS recipients.

The full-ride scholarship grants each student $260,000 for a four-year undergraduate degree and includes room and board, books, and an opportunity to study abroad.

This year’s recipients were notified via email as all Texas schools and non-essential businesses closed last month to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Cherokee yearbook reporters junior Rosa Vazquez, sophomore Itzel Borrego, and senior Yureni Gutierrez interviewed the scholarship winners.

Update: Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Senior Brad Flick accepted his scholarship offer in May after an opening became available.


Senior Brad Flick

How were you notified?

“I missed a phone call early in the morning from Maribel Lomeli (TCU). I was left an email to call her back, so I called her back immediately. She picked up and we had some small talk about school and then she mentioned the community scholarship program and she had my full attention there. She mentioned how I was a top candidate for the program and how there was an opening for a new scholar. She offered me a position and I said yes.”

What was your reaction?

“I honestly couldn’t completely comprehend what had happened because it was early in the morning but I was mainly shocked. I went to work and throughout the day it started to dawn on me that I actually got the scholarship.” 

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“This scholarship is the foundation for a giant building block that is my future. It allows me to 100 percent focus on my goals and ambitions without having to worry about money. This scholarship is a gateway to prosperity.”

What will you study at TCU?

“I will be going down the pre-med path and I will be majoring in Biochemistry.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“I see myself going into medical school and later becoming an anesthesiologist.”


Senior Maria Mendoza

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“For me, it’s a big achievement for me because I overcame many things and it shows that if you just put in your effort, you can get through anything.”

What will you study at TCU?

“I will major in kinesiology because I want to be a physical therapist and work with kids who have a disability.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“I see myself back at TCU trying to pursue my master’s degree.”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“Yes, it was still special to me, although we didn’t have the big announcement like we do every year, it was still an honor to be recognized as a TCU Community Scholar.”

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“I just celebrated with my friends by calling and texting, and with my family, we got a small cake. That’s about it.”


Senior Pamela Guerrero

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“To me, the scholarship means that my parents don’t have to pay for my school and coming from my background, it is helpful. I know that it’s very hard to achieve something like this, paid in full and so it definitely is helpful to me and my family.”

What will you study at TCU?

“I plan to double major in English Literature, and Latin American studies, with a minor in Creative Writing. Well, I really want to be a professor of English Literature and I want to be an author. I want to be a professor of English Literature but with a focus on Latin American authors.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“Definitely at graduate school. But I also am looking into starting my teaching career at an elementary level.”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“Yeah, it was very special. Of course, I would’ve preferred the school announcement, but in a way, it made it more personal because I was able to run right up to my mom and tell her what happened. And we had a small celebration at home.”

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“We really didn’t go out and buy anything. We just stayed at home, my mom stayed at home and she was just calling everyone up and bragging about it. A big part of it was reflecting on it and my high school years and seeing that I had a future at TCU.”


Senior Nichole Fashakin

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“The scholarship to me is a stepping stone. By achieving this scholarship, it shows that not only do I have a huge support system from my family and friends, but I have the potential to fulfill my future goal which is being able to give back to my community. Also, it allows me to focus more on classes and be more involved on my campus since I’ve been blessed with the financial aid which raised the burden off my family.”

What will you study at TCU? Why?

“The major I intend to study at TCU is biology because I have a passion for science and out of all the sciences, I love biology. Which I would eventually use to get into med school to pursue my future career job which is to become a pediatrician.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“After TCU I see myself either going into grad school to get my master’s degree then apply to enter med school or to go right into med school after my bachelor’s.”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“It was still special because I was able to celebrate with my family alone. It would’ve been better to celebrate with my supportive friends and teachers as well but I’m still grateful for the news either way.”

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“We celebrated by praying as of now, but eventually we’ll have a family dinner including some friends as well. It is best to celebrate with those who believe in your potential and want you to succeed in life.”


Senior Georgina Perez

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“It means that I’ll be able to help my family in a way to finish my education.”

What will you study at TCU?

“I’ll be majoring in psychology. I want to focus on mental illness in our community.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“I’ll be going to medical school to become a psychiatrist.”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“Yes, I was able to be with my family when I opened up my email, so I was very happy, plus I got messages from my AVID teachers, which was nice.”

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“Well, I stayed in and watched a show, that’s how I celebrated.”


Senior Kimberly Calderon

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“This scholarship opens so many doors for me being able to further my education and just realize that all the hard work that my parents have done for me and my own, is finally paid off and with this opportunity, I am able to not simply do what I desire but be able to give back to my community.”

What will you study at TCU?

“At TCU I will be studying psychology because, at a young age, my dad always dedicated his time for me and my sisters to help others and from there as a kid, I enjoyed helping others and since then I felt that my call was to help others.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“After TCU, I look forward to continuing my education and earning my master’s and being able to open a business of psychology and continue to serve and support my community.”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“It wasn’t how I expected to receive the news at all, but it’s still special to me because I was granted this special opportunity and I was able to celebrate it with my family.”

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“I will celebrate this accomplishment at home with family and on FaceTime with friends.”


Senior Sharon Arthur

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“The scholarship means a lot to me. It’s a blessing in disguise. It’s something I‘ve been praying for a long time because it answered everything my family has been struggling with. It was definitely a blessing and an answer to my prayers.”

What will you study at TCU?

“I will be studying psychology because mental health in my community is a major deal and in the Christian community. Mental health is a major issue in teenagers and I feel if I learn enough about it I can shed light and bring forward the issue that people never thought was a problem.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“After TCU, I see myself going for my doctorate program and I also see myself going back to my community, and to my church and discussing mental health, and I also see myself having a business around mental health to educate people and have that as a resource.”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“The online announcement was still special to me because either way, I was still happy. As long as I got the information that I got it, no matter what way it was given to us, I was still content.

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“I will be celebrating by dancing to Ghana praising, and celebrating God, that is my form of celebration.”


Senior Brandon Nguyen

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“It means going to a prestigious university and learning about different people with different backgrounds while getting a phenomenal education that allows me to make an impact on society. Also relieving the stress of my parents financially.”

What will you study at TCU?

“Pre-dentistry because my teeth have always been a big part of my life. When I got braces it helped me boost my self-esteem and allowed me to be the person I am today. So I’d love to return that favor and help other people feel the same way.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“Being someone important and impactful in our society and our local community.”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“It definitely would’ve been better to find out in person however these circumstances allowed me to scream my lungs out instead of containing myself.”

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“I will enjoy my friend’s company virtually and spend time with my family.”


Senior Joshua Anderson

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“It means that my dreams to change this world I live in are that much closer to becoming a reality. It means I don’t have to worry about how I’m gonna pay for school. It means my parents don’t have to worry about how my school is getting paid for. It means everything to me.”

What will you study at TCU?

“I plan on studying political science. I have chosen this path because I have a passion for the different issues that impact people all over the country and my community. My goal is to become someone who works tirelessly to make sure those voices are heard and something is done about what they’re saying.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“I want to be somewhere that I can use my abilities and gifts to help others in the best way possible. Right now I don’t know exactly where that is, but I know with God and the opportunities that I will be granted while attending TCU I will be exactly where I need to be!”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“I mean the news in and of itself is life-changing. But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been imagining that moment, our moment, together in the Little Theatre since last year. But the worst part is that we weren’t able to be there for each other, especially for the ones that didn’t get it. I wanted to be there for them so bad, my heart ached for them.”

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“I’m honestly not sure, but once we no longer have to distance ourselves socially, WE GONE TURN UP!”


Senior Anderson Nguyen

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“What the scholarship means to me is an opportunity to be a role model. I wanna use the platform to help the underclassmen and juniors realize the opportunities they have to be  successful.”

What will you study at TCU?

“I’m going to study kinesiology to become a chiropractor. I’ve had more than enough issues with my knee and joints, but so has my mom and I wanna be successful to not only care for my mom financially but be able to help relieve her pain.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“I’m probably going to further my education so I can become a chiropractor.”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“The online email was very nerve-wracking. When I got the notification, I was so hesitant to open it. Fortunately, it was the biggest win I’ve ever had.”

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“I don’t know how I’m going to celebrate, I can’t really do much right now, but when times get better I’ll definitely have to live it up.”


Senior Kenia Martinez

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“This scholarship means the world to me. A full-ride? Wow! This will for sure take a huge burden off my family’s shoulders. This scholarship is the ticket to my success. It is the ticket where I can further my education and exceed in life. Where I can continue to educate myself in order to give back to my community and those who have been there with me through thick and thin. It’s been rough these years but with God by my side and hope only, anything is attainable.”

What will you study at TCU?

“I want to study mechanical engineering. I’ve always enjoyed learning and going to school. Math and science have always been my favorite subjects since I have a good memory. I grew up in México and it is known that a lot of the students there pursue careers in the STEM field. I’ve always been influenced and exposed to engineering. I love doing things by hand. I am indeed a tactile learner. Me and my brother would play with a lot of toys where we were able to use our imagination and build whatever we wanted. Whether it was with Legos, a train track, etc. I believe that engineering is the right pathway for me.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“With a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Not only that, but I want to be able to make an impact in my community. I want to be able to resolve an issue going on in the world whether it is a political, social, community, school, cultural, environmental or economic issue. I know in fact that joining the clubs that I have in mind and making connections, I will be able to start or join a project where I can resolve one of these issues. I also want to be able to work for a company making and building things that make people’s lives easier. And in the future, reach financial stability and find my real happiness.”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“Yes, definitely. Honestly, I was just anxious to know. I mean, of course, I would have loved to be surprised and experience the whole celebration that they always do at Sam every year. Unfortunately, this year that wasn’t the case. Either way, it doesn’t really change anything. To me, all that mattered was knowing whether or not I got the full-ride or not. I know that later in the year, I will be able to celebrate this and many other accomplishments.”

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“My family just congratulated me. They told me that they were really proud of me. I did not celebrate in a big way because of the COVID-19 quarantine. Hopefully, in the future, I can go out to eat with my family in order to celebrate this huge life changer.”


Senior Megan Ha

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“Honestly, it just means less of financial stress or burden on my parents, having to pay for my college tuition.”

What will you study at TCU?

“Movement science because I want to become a physical therapist. I used to have scoliosis and I go to physical therapy, so I developed a passion for physical therapy.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“I hope to become a leader, not only in the Fort Worth community, but I hope to give back to my local community after college as well. Also, I see myself being involved and active, just like I’ve been active at Sam Houston.”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“Oh yes, yes, for sure. Through email, yes, I was kinda bummed out, when they were going to send it through email, but it meant the world to me. The Little Theater celebration would have been cool, but it still was exciting to find out through email.”

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“When I found out, I went out with one of my close friends – a fellow community scholar [Rigoberto Garcia] – we went out to eat tacos, even though most places are closed, we ordered takeout.”


Senior Rigoberto Leon Garcia Jr.

What does this scholarship mean to you?

“Well, being able to secure a future, it means the world to me and my family, and I’m the first one going to a four-year college. It can help.”

What will you study at TCU?

“I want to major in biology and I want to become a dentist. I just find it very interesting, and it’s fascinating to me, how every day is different, and I want to help people get confident with their smile.”

Where do you see yourself after TCU?

“Hopefully already applying or getting into dental school, and getting a start on my future.”

In light of the extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an online announcement still special to you?

“It was still special to me because it still had the same meaning to me as if I were to get the surprise at Sam. It had the same meaning because I was getting the scholarship.”

Restaurants and other businesses are closed because of  COVID-19. How will you celebrate?

“I already celebrated it with my girlfriend, right after I found out, I called her and she also got it, and we went to go eat Pluckers.”