Student receives the help she needs

BY Amanda Sotelo

What started as a hobby for Monique Cavazos, has turned into a possible career, thanks in part to a 2016 Coca Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship.

The Raymondville native and mother of four is currently enrolled as a Building Construction Technology student at Texas State Technical College and is expected to graduate with an associate degree in Spring 2017.

As a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, an elite fraternity that honors scholars who achieve a 3.5 or higher grade point average, Cavazos recently applied for and received a $1,000 scholarship to use toward her tuition and other college expenses.

“Financially, this journey has not been easy,” said Cavazos. “There have been times just getting to school is a challenge because we have no money for gas, and this scholarship is going to ensure that doesn’t happen again.”

The Leaders of Promise Scholarship is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Of the more than 1,100 applicants, only 200 students are selected.. Cavazos said she gets goosebumps just thinking how she is to be one of the scholarship recipients

“I can’t believe I’ve been given this opportunity,” said Cavazos. “I’m doing all of this for my daughters; to show them that everything is possible when you try and never give up. I want to be a good example for them.”

In a letter written to TSTC Provost Dr. Stella Garcia, Christin Grissom, director of scholarship operations for Phi Theta Kappa, said Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars are selected based on outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated leadership potential.

“I want to congratulate your student’s outstanding academic achievements and leadership potential that have earned them this prestigious award,” said Grissom. “This scholarship is more relevant than ever as our organization, colleges and communities are actively encouraging completion of a college credential, an associate degree or certificate, among college students.”

The 32-year-old never expected to be where she is today. Building and construction were only hobbies to her growing up, she never imagined she would be pursuing this as a career track..

“When I was small, my grandfather, who was also my babysitter, would only allow me to work with the old, crooked nails. That’s how I got my start,” Cavazos recalls. “But to now be pursuing a career in a non-traditional program, being inducted in an honor society and receiving this scholarship makes everything feel so surreal.”

Cavazos has now been promoted to new, straight nails, but her passion for creating and building things has not changed. Upon graduating from TSTC, she hopes to begin flipping houses to give old homes purpose once again, and to build affordable housing for those in need.

“I want to make a difference in the community while doing what I love,” said Cavazos. “People deserve to have a place they can call home. And this scholarship is going to help me do that. To those who selected me, thank you, and know that this money will be put to good use.”

For more information on Building Construction Technology call 956-364-4770.

Early registration for Spring 20147 begins October 17 for returning students in good standing, registration for new students begins November 14. To register or apply anytime visit