A lot of firsts happened at Nacogdoches High School's scholarship assembly. A record three million dollars in scholarships were handed out. Most students expected them. Another was entirely surprised.
Emotion overcame Celia Reyes with the surprise of a $10,000 scholarship. Five years ago her father was killed in a traffic accident. She could have given up, but instead she holds down two jobs to help her mother. At the time of the accident Celia had a two week old baby sister and a four year old brother. She was a pre teen. Now a young woman she said, "I've seen a lot of girls in high school, they're pregnant, they're not even realizing what they can do. They had the opportunity to come to the U.S. and do something about themselves and they don't. And sometimes it hurts to see all those girls give up their lives and I just don't want it to be like that."
Six other students also have goals. The Merchant Marines, Naval Academy, Air Force and West Point will greet them. Never has Nacogdoches had so many students accepted to military academies.
Naval Academy senior, Zach Capacete came back for the presentation. "It makes me feel proud where I come from because we have a lot of people representing this great town. Local advocate for the Naval Academy Tim James echoed the sentiments. "It makes me proud of the school, the faculty, the values that were exhibited by these great young people of Nacogdoches.
Retired Air Force Col. Paul Barber said, "The university, the school, the high school and the parents can be proud of the achievements of these six students. Retired Army Col. Farrah Bentley said, "First and foremost recognition must go to the faculty and the teachers who give many, many hours to this."
So whether it's the first NHS woman headed to West Point, or the young Hispanic going to SFA to help her mother, the accomplishments begin the same way. NHS and SFA alum Monte Moses presented Reyes her scholarship. He said, "It starts with high standards and really believing that students can meet high expectations if given the proper support." Moses was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators. He comes from a family of educators. His brother, Mike Moses is former education commissioner for Texas.