Student Receives VAMOS Scholarship

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MERCEDES – VAMOS stands for the Valley Alliance of Mentors for Opportunities and Scholarships. Two recipients have succeeded in their respective fields, but they’ve also helped some local GEAR UP students get ready for college.

Anahi Gonzalez graduated from Mercedes High in 2012 and from UTRGV in 2016. She earned her bachelors in social work and was able to get her degree thanks to a scholarship from VAMOS.

Gonzalez was one of two recipients from Mercedes High to ever receive the scholarship.

“I almost lost it. I went running to the counselor’s office and I told them and they were crying. I was crying. I called my mom. My mom started crying. It was just really emotional feeling,” she said.

Gonzalez is the first high school graduate in her family.

“Well I’m a first generation student so just thinking back to high school, that high school graduation was a big step in my family. And then a couple of months ago in May I graduated from college, and it was so awesome because now I see my sister going through it and my little brother is about to start high school, so I see that poverty cycle ending in my family,” she said.

Gonzalez had to write an essay describing why she needed the VAMOS scholarship.

“There was a letter that we had to write… kind of explaining why we deserve the scholarship… and I was paranoid. Oh my gosh, what if I miss something that’s super important and I missed it. But I just gave myself the opportunity to tell my story and make it my personal statement. And I guess that was the biggest thing that helped me get my scholarship,” she said.

Gonzalez had the tough task of describing her family hardships. It was an emotional time for the scholar.

“My senior year, my dad actually lost his job, and he was the only one that was working and I felt some sense of responsibility. And I didn’t want my senior event, like the finances, like I wanted to buy my pictures, I wanted to buy my cap and gown, so I applied at the outlets,” she recalled.

Gonzalez got the job and I helped her father. It was a detail she made sure to include in her essay.

You can catch GEAR UP segments Thursdays on CHANNEL 5 NEWS at 5.

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