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Two PSJA students surprised at their homes with $48,000 checks

Representatives from the University of Texas at Austin surprise two PSJA ISD seniors with $48,000 checks


ALAMO – Representatives from the University of Texas at Austin’s Impact Scholarship surprised two PSJA ISD seniors in their homes with $48,000 checks on Saturday, Dec. 14. 


PSJA Memorial Early College High School Senior Zorayda Sanchez and PSJA North Early College High School’s Daija Esparza were each selected as recipients of this $48,000 scholarship. 


“I just feel really grateful and blessed because I didn’t know what was in store for me financial-wise,” said Esparza, who hopes to obtain a degree in business. “I feel like that was going to be a big problem. With this, a lot of that is just relieved from my shoulders.”


The scholarship recognizes students who are making an impact in their community and covers the cost of tuition for the students’ four years at UT Austin. Sanchez and Esparza were presented with their respective scholarship as part of Impact Texas Day, in which representatives from UT Austin’s Office of Admissions surprised nearly 60 students throughout the state with the awards.  


“It’s an amazing opportunity to provide these students with these scholarships and to be able to see the reaction of the family and the student,” said Director of the UT Austin Valley Admissions Center David Garcia. 


According to PSJA Financial Aid Officer Erica Ramos, having the opportunity to witness the reactions made all their work worth it.


“I don’t always have the chance to be there at the culmination of that moment when they get to present their financial aid to their parents,” Ramos said. “I don’t get to see it in their parent’s faces. I see it from the students, so being a part of this moment meant a lot.”


For Sanchez, who plans to pursue a degree in journalism from UT Austin, the award means being one step closer to achieving her dreams. 


“I woke up thinking I was going to Mexico to visit family, but I guess not,” Sanchez said laughing. “I’m just really excited and thankful for everybody who helped me along the way. I’m really going to put this scholarship to good use.”