Avalos Family’s Generosity Benefits RGC Students

Claudia Rodriguez, left, and Enrique Avalos Jessica Gallegos, center, expressed her appreciation to Enrique Avalos, right, and his son and Esmi's brother, Enrique Jr.

By Laura Nelson

The family of Esmeralda Rosalia Avalos raises money each year to fund scholarships for Sul Ross Rio Grande College students and this year, Claudia Rodriguez received the Avalos family education scholarship and Jessica Gallegos was awarded the Avalos family nursing scholarship.

Claudia Rodriguez and her husband Rogelio left great jobs in San Antonio to move home to Eagle Pass in order to provide their children, Roger David and Angela, with the advantages of living in a smaller place. With grandparents close by to provide support, Claudia enrolled in Southwest Texas Junior College and worked hard to improve her GPA. She has persevered and graduated from RGC on Dec. 12, 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in education.

She currently works at a Kinder Center and hopes to be certified in the spring with an early childhood-6th grade bilingual generalist endorsement. Because her son has autism, she feels particularly called to intervene when she sees a child that may have special needs. Claudia thanked Mr. Avalos for his support and looks forward to giving back to the community that has given her so much.

Jessica Gallegos also finds great satisfaction in helping others. As a nurse at one of the elementary schools in Del Rio, she recently identified a child’s vision problems, and when the family could not afford to pay for services, she found help for them. The youngster, proud of her new glasses, sought Jessica out to check her vision again. Ms. Gallegos said she gets to help the kids, but she doesn't have to teach or discipline them. She said, "Everyone loves the nurse!"

“I see a large variety of cultures, different illnesses, and many families in need. Even though it’s emotionally draining, my work is very gratifying.” She plans to graduate in the summer of 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and would eventually like to earn a master’s degree and serve her community as a nurse practitioner. Jessica finished the Certified Nursing Assistant program at Del Rio High School and went on to earn Licensed Vocational Nurse and Registered Nurse certifications. She said, “My current education is helping me at my current job. I’ve learned a lot and I’m a better nurse- motivated to do more and more confident.”

Esmeralda Avalos longed to be a teacher and serve her community. She completed high school and attended Southwest Texas Junior College, but a chronic illness and side effects of medications sidelined her formal education. Instead, she helped others by volunteering at New Beginnings Adult Day Care. When she passed away in 2013 at the age of 34, her family learned what a blessing she had been to others. The Avalos family turned their grief into action, raising money to fund a scholarship for aspiring teachers at Rio Grande College. With extended family and his many friends and clients from his 20-year barbering career in Uvalde, father Enrique continues to raise money through raffles and donations that he puts into a special scholarship fund named for Esmi. The account has grown so much the family added a second RGC scholarship for nursing students enrolled in the RN to BSN completion program.

For more information about scholarships available at RGC and how to apply, visit http://www.sulross.edu/page/2015/scholarships, email rgcfao@sulross.edu or call 830.703.4824.