An area businessman is looking to give back to other first generation individuals looking to further their education with college or a trade school.
Daniel Cruz of Cruz Events knows the difficulties students in that position deal with, having been a first generation student himself. He has also seen it first hand while working at Bob Hope School for more than ten years.
And while he is no longer at that job, education holds a special place in his heart.
He announced via the Cruz Events Facebook page that the scholarship launch date was coming on Monday and since then he has seen interest from the public in the scholarship.
The scholarship can be used for books or toward part of the tuition.
“Anything and everything that helps; it will give them a chance to think about the steps they are taking for their family being a first generation student and being able to share their experience with others to come after them,” Cruz said.
The businessman said he found it difficult to navigate the waters, so to speak, and his dad told him to let him know whatever he needed because he (dad) didn’t know what to do to help.
“They (parents) were very supportive and understanding,” Cruz said. “My experience was difficult but was great at the end.”
Cruz opened the scholarship to those wanting to pursue trade school options because not everyone plans to go to college. Some may want to have careers as an electrician or a welder, he said, adding the business wants to support both sides.
Details and a link to the $500 scholarship application will be posted on Cruz Events Facebook page Feb. 7.
The scholarship is open to first generation students in Texas who are high school seniors or undergraduate students.
He said being a first generation student can make it difficult to navigate the college application and finance world.
Cruz said financial constraints, lack of mentors and other obstacles stand in the way of some first generation students trying to earn their degrees and break into their desired career fields.
To apply, the applicant must write an essay of 400 to 600 words, telling what it means being a first generation student and how they will share their experience to help others.
The application deadline is April 15, and the winner will be announced May 14.
Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.