The Texas A&M University-San Antonio Foundation recognized Texas A&M University System Regent Elaine Mendoza Tuesday with the 2016 Dream Maker Award.
The Foundation honored Mendoza alongside prominent San Antonians and Texans, including Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor, A&M-San Antonio President Cynthia Teniente-Maton and former chairman of Clear Channel Communications, and inaugural Dream Maker Honoree, Lowry Mays.
“These folks are pillars and legends,” said Mendoza, founder and CEO of Conceptual MindWorks, Inc. “For us to share a moment like this is just overwhelming. Amazing. Humbling.”
The foundation, established in 2008, has awarded scholarships to over 5,000 students by securing more than $3 million. Two annual events, a golf tournament along with the luncheon, provide the fundraising opportunities to afford immediate scholarships and ensure the lasting presence of A&M-San Antonio on the South Side.
The foundation’s contributions helped make thousands of student’s dreams for higher education possible. Past honorees include former Texas Secretary of State John, Ida “Weisie” Steen and Peggy and Dan Allen Hughes, Jr. in 2013; Peter Holt in 2012; Dr. Carl F. Raba in 2011; and Lowry Mays in 2010.
“There’s always a way. Don’t stop, don’t give up, keep looking, keep asking and plug through it,” Mendoza said. “It will be worth it in the end, and we need them to succeed. So we need to do everything we can to make them successful and to support them. Just don’t give up.”
Four A&M-San Antonio students were recognized during the event: Deidre Sequeira, Marcus Mora, James Robles and Selena Sanchez.
Sequeira is a junior working towards an English degree, along with a teaching certificate. Sequeira said she was unsure just how exactly she was going to pay her tuition this semester, until she received two scholarships from past Dream Maker Honorees, Peter Holt and Dr. Carl F. Raba.
“I have been working full time and going to school three-quarters time, so I’ve got a pretty busy schedule,” Sequeira said. “I’m just trying to keep afloat and this [scholarship] is definitely going to help me.”
Sequeira admits that she is self-conscious about her writing and often believes that other scholarship applicants are going to apply and beat her out. Still, she encourages other students to overcome their own doubts and apply.
“You do it and you never know, sometimes really great things happen,” Sequeira said. “Nothing will happen if you don’t apply. Even if you don’t get [the scholarship] there’s nothing that you lose from that, so it’s better to just go for it even if you’re scared.”
Mora is in his third semester of a four-semester MBA graduate program working towards his Master’s in business management, with a concentration in project management.
“As a graduate student you don’t normally see scholarships come your way as easily,” Mora said. “But to be able to see that I actually won a scholarship, that reduces the workload on me as far as having to find the resources, and going to work full-time, to pay for school.”
Mora said that he didn’t have a full support system when he was young. He finds solace and motivation in the support system of the A&M-San Antonio Foundation, something he hopes other students will find.
“I would tell them that they have to get motivated from the inside out. Don’t lose hope; no matter how many scholarship applications you apply for, you just never know,” Mora said. “That last one you were thinking about not doing, may be the one that you win. So don’t give up and if you have the time, definitely apply for what you can and the rewards will come at the most unexpected moment.”