He didn't have a cow. He'd never raised a goat or gathered eggs from a chicken, or nursed a rabbit through an illness. But what Edward Carrizales-Saucedo, a senior at Scarborough High School, had was an outstanding academic and extracurricular record.
And that was more than enough for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo a few years ago when it announced that Carrizales-Saucedo had won one of its $15,000 scholarships spread over four years. Now a junior double-majoring in management information systems and accounting at the University of Houston, he says the HLSR scholarship made it all possible.
Monday, HLSR officials announced that their organization had "passed the $330 million mark" since it first began handing out education checks in 1932.
The money has gone for scholarships to high school seniors and college juniors and seniors, graduate assistantships for students at 11 Texas universities, educational program grants and support for the junior show exhibitors.
In addition, the HLSR has added 108 scholarships and increased four-year scholarships to $18,000, including five scholarships for dependents of military personnel.
It supports any number of programs around town including several that have little to do with life on the range, but a lot to do with the arts: the Alley Theatre, the Houston Grand Opera and Theatre Under the Stars.
In its press release, the HLSR said:
"The Show's founders could never have imagined this phenomenal level of support for the youth of our state," said Skip Wagner, president of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. "It is a testament to the devotion and big hearts of our volunteers, now 27,000-plus strong, our generous auction buyers and scholarship underwriters, and our great corporate sponsors."
When he found out about the scholarships being offered, Carrizales-Saucedo had to meet critieria that included a limit on how much money his parents could make. He wrote two essays and demonstrated his level of engagement at his high school. "I played tennis, soccer and football and I was also president of the National Honor Society and vice president of the senior class," he said.
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"It was really important for me," Carrizales-Saucedo said. "I sat down with my parents and talked about my future. Both of my parents are really humble. It was going to be really difficult to go to college if I didn't get a scholarship. It pays for books and some of my classes."
Carrizales-Saucedo also said he wanted "to really thank the people who donate and take interest in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo."
This year's livestock show and rodeo runs Monday February 25 through Sunday, March 17, which gives you another chance to get your country on, listen to some music, take in some real cowboys and cowgirls, get your fix of fried exotica, and help some kids while you spend your money. Which in the great scheme of things is not a bad deal at all.