Montserrat Rodriguez and Melanie Sandoval received life-changing news today. Both MacArthur High School seniors were surprised with the news that they had earned the Impact Scholarship from the University of Texas in Austin worth $48,000.
They celebrated with their families and MacArthur staff with happy tears and hugs of joy. Montserrat is also a Minnie Stevens Piper Scholarship winner. This four-year grant essentially covers any additional educational expenses that are not covered by financial aid.
“I can’t really believe this,” said Montserrat. “It doesn’t feel real. I guess once I’m there it’ll hit me. I was pretty worried about how I was going to pay for school so this has changed my life.”
Melanie is soon to be a first-generation college student. She and her family were overcome with emotion when they learned the news.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to make it this far,” said Melanie. “Now, I can go to school and I can study and I don’t have to worry about money so much. It’s kind of like everything I’ve been working so hard for is starting to pay off. It’s really emotional.”
As much as this means to Melanie and Montserrat, it means even more to their parents.
“I was ready to get another job to help her go to college so this helps so much,” said Melanie’s mother, Lorena Perez. “She’s the first one in my whole family to get a scholarship for a university. She’s a hard-working girl. We are so happy for her.”
Melanie and Montserrat are both one step closer to their dream of going to college. Montserrat wants to study International Relations and Global Studies. Melanie plans to study Social Work so she can one day work in rehabilitation centers.