Sam Houston, Trimble Tech students win full-ride TCU scholarships

Posted Monday, Apr. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Breana Brown can confidently predict where she'll be this time next year -- finishing up her freshman year at TCU.

Brown is one of five Arlington Sam Houston High School seniors who have set a school record for the number of TCU Community Scholars scholarships given in one year. The five students will split $1 million in funds.

The $200,000 awards are enough to finance all four years of their undergraduate college careers. The cost for an academic year at TCU is estimated at $48,530, including tuition, room, meal plan, books and supplies, according to the school's website.

"It's a tremendous blessing," said Brown, 18, who plans a business management major and hopes to start her own record label.

Fort Worth's Trimble Technical High School had even more Community Scholars this year. Seven students will receive scholarships to attend TCU.

Trimble Tech was among the original five high schools on board when TCU created the scholarship program for students in selected low-income schools in 1999. Now 11 schools are in the program. Any student at one of the schools can apply for one of the 30 scholarships given each year.

Alejandra Benavidez, Consuelo Cuevas, Nian Dim, Elijah Herring, Miguel Lopez, Mariah Mathews and Yesenia Ortiz are the Trimble Tech scholars.

The Tech students spent weeks working with teacher Andrew Thomas, revising application essays, polishing réumés and preparing for two panel interviews and a one-on-one meeting.

Thomas assembled a mock interview panel of former Tech winners so seniors could practice answering questions.

The preparation help was crucial, said Lopez, 18, who wants to study nutritional and exercise sciences. He spent about two weeks editing his three-page résumé to highlight his volunteer work and extracurricular activities.

"Each year the applicant pool gets even more competitive," said Timeka Gordon, Community Scholars program director. "It's still extraordinary for those who do end up with the full ride."

Tech student Dim, 17, moved to Texas from Burma in fourth grade and credits reading with helping her learn English.

"I'm the first one in my family to go to a U.S. college," said Dim, a future premed major who proclaimed TCU a good fit. "It's perfect for me, not too big and not too small."

Sam Houston's scholars also plan ambitious majors, including Alma Luna, prelaw; Tammy Dang, biology; Jose Rocha, entrepreneurial business; and Edith Moreno, business management.

"We look at a lot of criteria," Gordon said of the selection process. "All of these students have to first apply, as any student would, and be admitted to TCU as a freshman."

They must also exhibit additional academic excellence and leadership skills to be selected.

"It comes down to individual students and what they have to offer," Gordon said.

In addition to the money, Community Scholars receive extra support and guidance at TCU to help them transition into college.

"When the program was started, it was to help bring diversity to TCU," Gordon said. "We wanted them to consider TCU instead of going out of state."

More than 90 percent of the scholarship winners have graduated from TCU.

"By being admitted and being a part of a university like TCU, it shows that what we're doing here in the public schools, we're doing something right," Thomas said.

Staff writer Jessamy Brown contributed to this report.

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657

Twitter: @startelegram

Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326

Twitter: @JessamyBrown

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