CALEXICO – For many graduating high school students, paying college tuition is only possible through scholarships which rarely covers much. Ten Calexico High School graduates were awarded the IME (Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior) Scholarships presented by the Consul of Mexico, Carlos Flores Vizcarra, July 25, in the afternoon at the Calexico Unified School District office.
Established in 2005, the IME BECAS scholarships is an institute partnered with the Mexican government and the Consulate of Mexico located in the United States which gives financial aid to students who are Mexican or Mexican descent living in the United States.
For the first time this year, IME BECAS partnered with Calexico Education Foundation (CEF) and gave $10,000 in scholarships. Michael Castillo, CEF board member, was present to distribute the certificates.
“The IME BECAS also gave $10,000 to Imperial Valley College and $10,000 to West Shores High School. It’s the first time the Consulate has collaborated with CEF,” said Diana Postlehwaite, assistant of Commentaries of the Consulate.
Each student was awarded $1,000 for their secondary education, a requirement being they keep their studies in the United States. To be awarded the scholarships, the graduate needed a 3.0 grade-point average or above, submit an essay, and show they had quality engagement in the community.
The scholarships are an annual tradition which the Secretariat of Exterior Relations endows the account to IME BECAS explained Postlehwaite.
Maria Ambriz, superintendent of Calexico Unified School District, remarked during the ceremony the impact parents and the community’s support have on students as they embark on their secondary education.
“Five years from now, we’re going to be able to say that they’re carriers of their degrees and as a parent it’s a big honor to be part of their education,” said Ambriz.
Reflecting on her strong sense of roots and culture, Victoria Aguilar Acuña, Calexico High class of 2017, noted that throughout her high school journey, it was difficult to balance between extracurricular activities and grades. Aguilar is going to attend UC Berkeley in the fall to study psychology.
“I’m very thankful for this scholarship because every bit of money helps, it’ll help me and my parents to pay for my tuition,” she said. “It’s important to apply early and don’t wait until last minute to apply.”
Aguilar’s mom, Esperanza Acuña, mentioned that the scholarship it’s a very big help financially for the family and her daughter’s education.
Another student that was granted the scholarship was Vanessa Villegas, CHS class of 2017, who is going to attend IVC to study applied mathematics and science. Villegas plans to transfer to UCLA in the future.
“I’m proud to be Mexican and it’s great to know that it’ll help for my tuition,” said Villegas. “It was difficult to apply to many scholarships and not know if you were going to get any. I’m very fortunate to be picked from all applicants.”
Carlos Flores Vizcarra, consulate of Mexico in Calexico, recognized the support and ambition Mexico has towards Mexican-descended students who study and live in other countries.
“Each time, IME BECAS grows more and that’s how we want it. It means that you as students have a great motivation for life and great support from friends and family. It’s important that the family acknowledges those opportunities and sacrifices,” said Vizcarra.