Young people often hear that higher education is necessary these days. They are told that a college degree is their ticket to finding a great, lucrative career. While it is a goal that some students believe can be reached, it may not be for others because of the expense.
In particular, DISD athletes are encouraged to apply for financial assistance through the Donna High School Quarterback Club or the Donna North High School Chiefs Tribal Council, depending on which high school they attend. The non-profit organizations work hard every year to raise money for scholarships. Members volunteer countless hours organizing fundraisers, selling merchandise including T-shirts, caps and stickers and manning concession stands during football games.
“Some students are not as fortunate to afford a college education,” Donna Quarterback Club President Larry Mata said. “We give them an opportunity to apply and be able to get a scholarship. We want to help them achieve their goals.”
“I would encourage my son to go to college and do what he needs to do to reach his dreams,” Chiefs Tribal Council President Carmen Martinez said. “I didn’t get to go to college and wanted him to have the opportunity. That’s why we raise money, to help students like my son, so they can achieve more than we have.”
Martinez and Mata would like to see more parents involved in their respective organizations. They said many aren’t aware of their purpose and what they are about.
“A lot of parents don’t understand what the Chief Tribal Council is and what we stand for,” Martinez said. “We would like to invite them to our meetings and encourage them to work with us so that we can be able to raise more money to help our students succeed.”
“Many athletes think that we raise money only for students in the DHS football program,” Mata said. “But we actually seek financial support for all sports. We’re just now beginning to see students in soccer and baseball apply for scholarships.”
Both organizations have been successful but have goals to bring in more funding this year.
“Any amount is helpful,” Martinez said. “My son was a recipient of a scholarship this past year. I would tell him, ‘no matter what you get, $100 or $500, it’s start-up money that you can use for books. It’s money that you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket.’ ”
“There have been several individuals who have come up to us and thanked us for the opportunity and what we do to raise money,” Mata said. “It’s the most awesome feeling because we do this on a volunteer basis. Many of us have full-time jobs and still we’re out there working and raising money. So, when students tell us ‘thank you so much for the opportunity to apply and get a scholarship,’ it’s the best feeling.”
To be eligible for a scholarship, athletes must be on a varsity team and be in good academic standing among other criteria.