Mexican Scholarship Awarded to Rio Grande College Student

Cristina Hightower, center, accepts the IME scholarship from, at left, Ricardo Santana, Consul of Mexico, and Dr. Paul Sorrels, Associate Provost/Dean at Rio Grande College.—Laura Nelson photo

By Laura Nelson

Del Rio, TexasRicardo Santana, Consul of Mexico, presented the first Sul Ross-Rio Grande College scholarship funded by the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) to RGC student Cristina Isabel Hightower on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014.

A native of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, Cristina finished high school and met her husband Peter during a mission trip in her native country. A few years after their fourth child was born, Christy decided she wanted more for herself and also wanted to set a good example for her children. The full-time mother enrolled full time in Southwest Texas Junior College, and after finishing there, enrolled at RGC. She described the late night hours spent studying followed by more studying early in the morning before the kids awoke. Christy also suffered health problems along the way plus she constantly questioned whether or not she could do it. “I felt so low because I was uneducated, but now I know I can be something in this country,” she said.

Mrs. Hightower explained how much the $1,000 scholarship means to their family. They live on one income that supports two college students and four children. One of their first purchases was a printer to use at home-no more hurrying to campus to print papers right before class! Christy plans to graduate in the spring of 2015 with a degree in Spanish and hopes to teach. Peter, a Border Patrol agent, graduates this May with a degree in criminal justice.

Christy’s family and friends as well as RGC employees gathered in the auditorium on the Del Rio campus to celebrate the historic occasion. Santana spoke of the need for more bilingual teachers, especially in border areas and said the Mexican government supports their students studying in the United States. He believes universities hold the key to improving and changing the border and stated that the Mexican government continues to explore ways to collaborate with the U.S. The IME Becas funds will be used specifically to help support Mexican national students living in the Del Rio area and enrolled in undergraduate or graduate studies. For more information or to apply, contact Rosa Linda Sanchez, Student Support Specialist on the Del Rio campus at 830.703.4812.

Mrs. Hightower has worked through a variety of challenges to finish her education and she encourages other Mexican citizens to complete degrees. She thanked Santana and the Mexican government, saying, “I’m still studying hard and this scholarship keeps me motivated!”