More than three dozen local high school students have just started their senior year with a big reason to smile: They’ve each been awarded $40,000 to help cover their upcoming college studies.
This unique and talented group of 40 students make up the first class of Bexar Legacy Scholars — recipients of the San Antonio Area Foundation’s Legacy Scholarship, founded in 2021 by an anonymous donor. This new educational opportunity each year offers 50 high school juniors in Bexar and Webb counties a $10,000 scholarship for each of their four years of college.
In what’s deemed to be one of the largest college scholarship programs in the country, Legacy will award a total of $2 million annually. The Area Foundation worked with local selection committees in Laredo and San Antonio made up of volunteer community leaders to appoint the 2022 recipients. The students receive the award as juniors to have peace of mind going into their last year of high school.
A ceremony honoring the Webb County Legacy Scholars was held in April at Texas A&M International University in Laredo and a reception for their San Antonio counterparts was held Sept. 9 at the Area Foundation headquarters at the Pearl.
The keynote speaker was one of these talented students — Emelia Castillo, a senior at Young Women’s Leadership Academy in the San Antonio Independent School District.
“Being able to receive this scholarship reminds me that my community is here to help push me through the years that lie ahead,” Castillo said. “I hope to go to medical school, and this scholarship will help me accomplish the first step — getting my bachelor’s degree.”
Webb Legacy Scholars expressed deep gratitude at the reception the Area Foundation held for them in Laredo. Many of them plan to stay local and attend Texas A&M International University — knowing their Legacy Scholarship will fully cover their annual tuition at that campus.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected as a recipient of this esteemed scholarship and know that with it, I will be able to accomplish so many goals in my journey through college as well as the rest of my life,” said Iracema Gonzalez, one of the 10 Webb scholars.
The Area Foundation has maintained a college scholarship program since 1969, awarding nearly $40 million in total, offered through management of more than 100 scholarship funds. The new Legacy Scholarship ensures that this already robust effort will continue growing for years to come.
“This truly fills my heart with joy,” said Bernice Uresti, the executive director of Legacy Scholarship and Scholars with the Area Foundation’s Development and Donor Services Department. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for us to help students fulfill their dreams of going to college and increase their chances of establishing successful careers.”