Two 2023 Scholarship Recipients Awarded Four Years of College Tution Plus Living Expenses
Updated: March 28, 2023 | 1076 views
The Doug Miller and Don Sanders Scholarship (DMDS) Fund is pleased to announce the fund’s 2023 scholarship recipients: Alondra Garcia and Sarahi Gomez. The fund has chosen these scholars out of a pool of more than 300 applicants. The fund has granted these scholars four years of college tuition and all living expenses, plus a semester abroad.
The DMDS Scholarship Fund was founded in 2019 by widows Colleen Sweeney and Kathy Butler to honor their husbands’ memories. The fund is dedicated to lifting disadvantaged students up - in a very different way from most other grant programs. Recipients are given everything to ensure success. Besides tuition, living expenses, and a semester abroad, the fund covers other necessities, such as laptops and software, books, dorm room design and decoration, clothing, meal plans, and health needs.
Alondra Garcia, Westbury High School, Houston, TX
Living with her parents and younger sister in Houston, Texas, Alondra has worked hard to achieve her dreams of attending college. Her parents supported her academic dreams, while working hard to raise a young family and send money to family members living in Honduras. This year, Alondra will begin the next step in her journey to becoming a NICU Nurse when she joins the class of 2027 at Texas A&M University. To achieve her career dreams of providing around-the-clock care to Texas’ smallest babies, she’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing and pass the state’s neonatal certificate exam.
Hard work isn’t new to Alondra, who started working at a fast food establishment as a high school student, putting in more than 40 hours per week in the summer months. She moved up quickly to trainer and then manager at the age of 16 in her first job, showing her commitment to working hard and saving money for college. Her commitment to continuing her education also includes participation in college prep programs Ignite and EMERGE while attending Westbury High School in Houston, TX.
"I am so close to achieving my academic goals, but my financial situation prevents me from being able to afford the education necessary to make my dreams a reality. My selection by the Doug Miller and Don Sanders Scholarship Fund is essential to reaching my career goals."
Sarahi Gomez, Sharpstown High School, Houston, TX
While living with her older sister and finishing high school in Houston, Sarahi Gomez is far away from her parents living in Mexico. Raised in Texas until the age of 10, Sarahi moved with her parents to Mexico, where she faced poor educational opportunities in their small rural town. After five years, Sarahi moved back to Houston to live with her sister, just in time for high school. Journaling has helped her share her feelings and focus on her goals, while growing up fast. While holding two part time jobs to help relieve financial pressures as she and her sister lived paycheck-to-paycheck, Sarahi continued to excel in her studies at Sharpstown High School.
This year, Sarahi will attend Texas Woman’s University, starting the next step in her educational career. She hopes to be the first member of her family to finish college and plans to become a dental hygienist. Before getting braces herself, Sarahi was insecure about her appearance and even tried to hide her smile. Researching dental care and orthodontics options at a young age sparked her interest in dentistry as a career.
"I want to be able to help others maintain healthy teeth, have a great smile, and be confident in themselves. I have been working hard to save up for college, but part time jobs are not enough. This scholarship will allow me to focus on my studies at Texas Woman’s University and get involved in the school community."
The Scholarship Committee would also like to recognize the finalists (pictured below from left to right): Abigail Chapa, Cayla Gottesman, Ivan Lam, Kevin Marroquin, Tirzah Parker, Gabriela Rodriguez, and Diamond Tran, "They are all fantastic young people and, if we had the ability to do so, we would have supported each of them on their college journey," said the founders. "Indeed, we wish all of the applicants much success with their college efforts."
"What a wonderful opportunity it is for us to work with such exemplary young people," said founder Kathy Butler. Founder Colleen Sweeney added, "These scholars have proven their ability to succeed in the face of numerous challenges. They are ready to take on the challenge of higher education and we are so happy to partner with them as they make this journey."
ABOUT THE DOUG MILLER & DON SANDERS FUND
The Doug Miller & Don Sanders Scholarship fund provides Texas high school graduates the lifetime opportunity of advanced education free from financial worries or a lifetime of debt. Recipients are granted four-years of tuition, living expenses, and a semester abroad. For more information, please visit https://www.dmdsscholarship.org.