(Orange, Texas)

September 7, 2013

Teachers award scholarships to Orange-area graduates

Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader

AUSTIN, Texas — This fall, three 2013 graduates of West Orange-Stark High School and one graduate of Bridge City High School are starting college with the help of a total of $2,500 in scholarships from the Texas Classroom Teachers Association. The teens are among 82 deserving students across the state to receive scholarships totaling $128,500 from the TCTA Scholarship Program, which is funded by the estate of the late Charles and Phyllis Gottlieb.

When establishing the scholarship criteria, TCTA honored Phyllis Gottlieb’s wishes, which were to create a program unlike most others. Rather than looking solely at transcripts and selecting only top academic performers, who often have multiple financial aid sources, TCTA chooses recipients who have faced hardships that make higher education unlikely without help.

West Orange-Stark High School recipients

• Leslie Cano – $250 scholarship to attend Lamar State College in Orange and ultimately pursue a career as a physical therapist. She is a single mother and was the first in her family to graduate from high school. “This accomplishment is something I’m very proud of, “ she wrote in her application, “therefore making me strive to achieve all that I can to make a good life for myself and my daughter.”

• Miranda Miller – $1,000 scholarship to major in math at Schreiner University in Kerrville. After two years, she plans to transfer to Texas A&M University to complete a degree in mechanical or architectural engineering. “I love to build and help people, and it would be a dream come true if I could combine the two,” she wrote in her application.

• Jhayllien Monette – $250 scholarship to pursue a nursing degree at Tyler Junior College. West Orange-Stark High School teacher Diztorsha Lavan nominated Monette for the scholarship. “Jhayllien is an excellent student,” she wrote in her nomination. “I know that he will succeed and be a productive, contributing member of society if given a fair chance to prove himself.”

Bridge City High School recipient

• Sean Neil – $1,000 scholarship to attend Lamar State College - Orange. He plans to pursue a chemical process operator certificate before working toward a degree in chemical engineering. Bridge City Intermediate School counselor Nicole Harris nominated Neil for the scholarship. “I have watched Sean make tough choices as he has grown that show character and maturing beyond his age,” she wrote in her nomination. “I know without a doubt he has what it takes to not only succeed in higher education, but excel.”

Now in its fourth year, the TCTA Scholarship Program awards scholarships in amounts up to $5,000 per year for tuition and required fees. In 2010, the program first awarded a total of $29,500 to 17 students and has increased those numbers each year, making the total awarded by the program so far $335,000.

Scholarships must be used to pursue courses of study leading to recognized degrees at accredited two- or four-year colleges, community colleges or career/technical schools. Recipients may apply for continued assistance based on satisfaction of specific academic criteria and availability of funds.

TCTA scholarship applications are due May 1 each year and can be submitted online at To be nominated, a student must: be a high school senior and a U.S. citizen and Texas resident; demonstrate financial need; have a minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale; and demonstrate the traits of strong personal character and potential for success. Nominators’ or nominees’ parents’ membership in TCTA is neither an advantage nor a disqualifier. However, teachers/counselors may not nominate their own children.

The Texas Classroom Teachers Association is a nonprofit, independent professional association serving more than 50,000 Texas educators. Founded in 1927, TCTA is based in Austin and is the only statewide teachers association that limits active-level membership to those directly involved in classroom teaching or teaching support, including librarians, counselors and teacher aides.