Brownsville Student Receives Scholarship to First-Choice College

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BROWNSVILLE – A Brownsville student’s work is helping him get a top-tier education without having to worry about the cost.

Manolo Alvarez is attending his first-choice college – the University of Texas at Austin. He received a full ride thanks to the Terry Scholarship.

“At first it was three stages. They told me you have the interview for UT and for A&M. And they told me but you have to choose, and I’ve always wanted to go to UT. So I chose UT. I drove up to my interview. I thought it was going to take about a month, and three days later I get an email saying that, ‘Congratulations, you’re now a Terry Scholar,’” the Veterans Memorial High School senior said.

Alvarez recalled the day he found out he got the scholarship.

“I remember I was in class and I started yelling and everyone was looking at me all weird. Why are you so happy? And then I told them and they all congratulated me,” he said.

Alvarez also received a $20,000 Dell scholarship. He said he wouldn’t have accomplished any of this without the help of his counselor Celina Barrera Scott.

“Ms. Celena Scott, my GEAR UP counselor, has always been there, pushing me, sending me all these texts like, ‘Don’t forget to apply for these scholarships. Don’t forget the deadline.’ If it wasn’t for her, I would not have applied for those scholarships,” he said.

Scott said the Dell scholarship comes with some perks.

“They follow these students, anything they need. Let’s say for example if Terry Scholars doesn’t cover books, there is something that he still needs, they will come in and pay for their books. They will pay for anything they need, plus they also get a laptop,” she said.

Alvarez said GEAR UP got him here.

“Well GEAR UP has had… it’s been a journey. My freshman year, they started talking about colleges and I remember not really paying attention and college is so far from now. They would take us to these college visits and they would bring counselors, and then we started visiting these colleges and college camps and we spoke with professors,” he said.

Scott said his leadership skills and hard work with GEAR UP are the reasons he will succeed in the future.

She said Alvarez has been a part of GEAR UP since middle school. “He has actually been one of our leaders, our strongest leaders. He’s part of the student leadership council, so he has motivated lots of other students to be part of GEAR UP, to take advantage of all the different conferences, the different programs that we have in the summer,” she said.

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