Three La Porte High School students received "The Farmers Way" scholarships at the recent AVID (Achievement Via Individual Determination) banquet. Mayra Gutierrez, Edgar Estrada and Hector Orellana were presented with the scholarships by David R. Sewell of Sewell Family Insurance Agency, a representative of Farmers Insurance Group of Companies.
Sewell, a graduate of La Porte High School, told those in attendance that it was an honor to present the scholarships to help jump-start the students' futures and promote the AVID program.
"Education is a vital part of our community, and I am so proud to be a part of a company that truly believes in education and the concept of putting something back into the communities that we make our living from," Sewell said.
Mayra Gutierrez plans to attend the University of Houston and major in mechanical engineering. A five-year AVID student, she also was the recipient of the Dell, Sam Walton and Jesse Jones Scholarships. The daughter of Juana and the late Alfredo Gutierrez, Mayra is a member of National Honor Society, Interact, Student Council and TRUTH. She graduated in the top 10 percent of the Class of 2010.
Edgar Estrada plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin and major in architecture. He is the son of Raquel and Juan Estrada and also has been in AVID for five years. Edgar, who graduated in the top 10 percent of his class, was a Jesse Jones Scholarship winner as well. He has been active in TRUTH, Academic Decathlon and Youth for Christ. In the summer, Edgar worked as a camp counselor with children from Houston's Third Ward.
Hector Orellana, the son of Leticia and Gustavo Estrada, plans to attend Stephen F. Austin State University and major in kinesiology. His goal is to be a physical therapist. Hector, who has been in AVID for three years, also played football and performed in the school musical. Outside school, he is active in his church.
The AVID program is based upon the belief that education is the key to success, explained Judy Hicks, LPHS counselor. The college preparatory program is open to all students with the mission of ensuring that students will succeed in an advanced, rigorous curriculum. The involvement of parents is a priority, as each student is instructed to participate in mainstream activities of the school, striving to become educated and responsible participants and leaders in society.
Hicks expressed her gratitude to Sewell and Farmers Insurance for their support of the AVID program as well as the three students who were chosen to receive the scholarships this year. In the first presentation of The Farmers Way scholarships to AVID students graduating in 2009, Sewell said that he hoped the partnership with the AVID program would become an annual event.
"It is so rewarding to give back to the community," Sewell said, noting that he hoped other businesses will follow his lead and support local schools and the community in general.
Pointing out that the scholarship recipients represent "the future leaders of our community," Sewell added, "It is truly special to be a part of something so powerful."