Students Honored for Achievement

Gabriela Chavarria sang the national anthem and was also recognized with multiple honors at the Rio Grande College awards ceremony. Alpha Chi inductees included, from left, Sabrina Diaz, Del Rio; Eliu Maldonado, Eagle Pass; and Samantha Segovia-Aguirre of Eagle Pass. Not pictured are Mayra Aguilar, Crystal City and Sarah Rogers, Uvalde. 

By Laura Nelson

Sul Ross-Rio Grande College students gathered in JP's event center in Del Rio on Saturday, April 26, 2014 for the annual awards banquet, and following a tasty meal catered by Banquetes Rodriguez, family, friends, RGC faculty and staff honored students for their academic and extracurricular achievements.

Dr. Claudia Wright presided over the ceremony and first introduced Dr. Paul Sorrels, RGC's Associate Provost/Dean who welcomed the crowd. Martin Seca, Pastor of the Living Stone Worship Center offered the invocation. The San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District ROTC Honor Guard presented the colors while RGC student Gabriela Chavarria presented an inspiring a capella performance of the "Star Spangled Banner."

Dr. Patricia Nicosia, Chair of the Department of Natural and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Mathematics, named the new Alpha Chi members. Alpha Chi is a collegiate national honor society that admits students from all academic disciplines. This year's inductees include Samantha Segovia-Aguirre, Eagle Pass; Sabrina Diaz, Del Rio; Eliu Maldonado, Eagle Pass; Mayra Aguilar, Crystal City; and Sarah Rogers, Uvalde.

Rio Grande College's Quality Enhancement Program committee sponsored a writing contest open to all students. They were encouraged to submit fiction, poetry, academic essays, or non-fiction and competed for RGC scholarships. Dr. Don Walden, Associate Professor of English presented the awards. First place and a $700 scholarship went to Rita Lopez, Eagle Pass, for her academic essay entitled "The Music of Mystery: Music in The Second Shepherds’ Play"; Esmeralda Crespo, Del Rio, earned second place and a $350 scholarship for her academic essay, "Controversial Shifts of the Victorian Age"; and third place winner Christina Thomas, Uvalde, won a $100 scholarship for her short story, "Jack and Iris."

Val Verde County Judge Laura Allen announced the Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities honorees. Those students are Krystal Silva Ballesteros, Paul D. Flores, Leslie Munoz, Megan Trevino; Juliana Botello; and Sarah Rogers, all of Uvalde; Gabriela Chavarria and Rosario Ortiz of Del Rio; Alfred Garcia, Hondo; Gregory Mayer, Fernando Perez, and Ruby Perez of Eagle Pass; Roxanne Garcia-Miranda, Carrizo Springs; and Gricelda Torres, Kyle.

Dr. Carlos Rios, Santa Fe/Del Rio CISD Superintendent recognized outgoing members of the Student Government Association (SGA). Elected by their peers, members seek to enhance the college experience for all RGC students. Those honored for their service were Heber Ruiz, President, Eagle Pass; Felicia Rodriguez, Vice President, Eagle Pass; Maria Velez, Secretary, Eagle Pass; Jennifer Hernandez, Senator from Uvalde; and Gabriela Chavarria and Sandra Seca, Senators from Del Rio.

Incoming SGA members introduced by Robert Eads, Del Rio City Manager, include Ebdawna Jo Musquiz, President, Del Rio; Juan M. Morales, Jr., Vice President, Del Rio; David Olivarez, Jr. and Karla M. Flores, Senators from Del Rio; and Maria K. Valenzuela, Senator from Eagle Pass.

Dr. Tiffany Culver acquainted the audience with the RGC clubs available for students, speaking to the importance of student involvement with their peers and giving some information about each club. Dr. Michael Ortiz, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, is one of the Pi Sigma Math Club advisers, and he showed photos of the club's trip to the Sul Ross Alpine campus before recognizing the top three math students. Gabriela Chavarria of Del Rio and Mayra Garza of Eagle Pass both earned Math Major of the Year while Cindy Cardenas, Del Rio, took Math Minor of the Year honors.

The focus shifted to favorite faculty and staff members as voted on by RGC students. Dr. Sarah Roche, Chair of the Department of Humanities and Professor of English, picked up the Favorite Faculty award. Recruiters Celso Garza, Uvalde; Rosa Linda Sanchez, Del Rio; and Juan Tamez, Eagle Pass were recognized as the Favorite Staff on each of the three campuses.

The final awards presented were for the Favorite Male and Female Students on each campus. Ernest Garza and Maria Hernandez were named for Uvalde; Mario Martinez and Cindy Cardenas were the Del Rio winners; and in Eagle Pass, two tied for the men's honor-Juan Tamez and Rodolfo Rodriguez and Amber Luna won the women's spot.

Dr. Wright thanked everyone for coming and congratulated all of those honored. Commencement exercises for Rio Grande College will be held in the John Harrell Auditorium on the Uvalde High School campus at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, 2014.