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Nine IDEA Public Schools seniors from across RGV receive Dell scholarship



Nine IDEA Public Schools seniors from across the Rio Grande Valley broke records for their school district Wednesday as they were named recipients of the Dell scholarship.

For senior Leo Tamez, going to college was something he says his family thought would never be possible.

"They didn’t want to support me with my decision, because they thought that I was kinda being like a coward for leaving the cycle of poverty we were enduring here,” Tamez said.

Tamez and Edith Cuevas, both seniors at IDEA San Juan, are two of the nine recipients within the district who were awarded the Dell scholarship, a prestigious program aimed to help in the financial process when applying for college.

“I wanted to ensure a great future for myself that I wouldn’t have to worry about finances and I can just focus on my studies,” Cuevas said.

Tavez’s family moved to the United States from Mexico. Tavez said that going to college wasn't in the plan.

"I don’t come from the most wealthy family, but still here I am," said Tavez. "I’m going to Brown University, and I’m a Dell Scholar, so it shows you that if I can do it, anyone else can.”

Though 30 IDEA seniors qualified for the nationally renowned scholarship, only nine of those students from IDEA schools in Pharr, Alamo, San Juan, San Benito and Brownsville were chosen as recipients. 

IDEA San Juan Principal Andrea Lopez Fernandez said 400 students nationwide are awarded the scholarship. The scholarship includes $20,000, a laptop, textbook credit and ongoing assistance throughout the student's college career.

"The huge amount of hard work that we ask of them at our school and taking so many AP courses and pushing them through the college application process -- this to me creates such a sense of community within our school and so when one of us succeeds, all of us succeed,” Fernandez said.

This school year, the school district achieved 100 percent college acceptance for their nearly 600 seniors.

Cuevas will attend Smith College in the fall. Tamez will attend Brown University.

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