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Breakfast With the Stars Shares Student’s Stories of Success

Many of the best and brightest in Irving ISD were honored during the 32nd annual Breakfast with the Stars, presented at the Irving Convention Center on Wednesday, May 1.

The breakfast celebrates high school seniors and staff who have received Irving Schools Foundation scholarships and allows them to meet the donors responsible for their scholarships. Cathy Whiteman, news anchor for Irving Community Television Network (ICTN), served as this year’s awards presenter.

“Breakfast with the Stars will be awarding 192 scholarships totaling over $500,000,” Whiteman said. “This number has grown significantly over the past 30 years and will continue to grow due to the support of so many generous donors who believe an investment in education is an investment in our future.

“Each of these scholarships vary in their criteria. But overall, the students and the staff receiving these scholarships have demonstrated leadership, both inside and outside school, academic success and community service.”

Whiteman surprised everyone by announcing each scholarship recipient would receive an additional $1,000 added to their scholarship amount.

Nearly 46 percent of the students attending this year’s breakfast will be the first person in their family to ever attend college, according to the Irving Schools Foundation. One of those students is Zyria Lott from MacArthur High School. Lott received the Lauralee Hubbard Memorial Scholarship and plans to major in nursing.

“I feel as though representation in the black community is very important, and I would like to see more of us aspiring to prestigious careers,” Lott said. “For example, my friend Madison wants to be a sports lawyer, Honesty wants to be a radiologist, and Susan wants to be a detective. These professions are dominated by people who don’t particularly look like the individuals I’ve grown up with. At least, not yet. Hopefully, my generation will change this.

“Because of this, I’ve chosen to be a pediatric nurse practitioner, dealing with younger children similar to the ones who I see running around the house every day. So when little black children come to the hospital, they will feel some form of representation and understand the sky’s the limit, and you can indeed be anything you want. However, you need to see it, in order to dream it.”

Another first-time college student is Susana Escobar from Irving High School. She received the John Stipes Memorial Scholarship and plans to attend The University of Texas at Arlington to become an art teacher.

“When my family and I first moved to the United States, I didn’t really know why. I was six,” Escobar said. “I didn’t speak any English, and I felt completely lost. The only thing I thought I had going for myself were my coloring skills, which at the time, I didn’t really see taking me anywhere. Drawing was just my way of communicating what I didn’t know in English.

“However, I finally understood why we had to move here. My mom had just gotten off the phone with her sister. She explained to me that my cousin would be attending college on a scholarship, and that my aunt wouldn’t have to pay anything. At that moment, I knew my parents brought me here so I would have more of a chance.”

Steve Lomeli from Singley Academy received the Live2Lead Scholarship and plans to attend the University of Texas in Austin to major in both business honors and management information systems. His parents are also immigrants.

“Both of my parents are immigrants from Guadalajara, and they were huge advocates for my education, despite only making to the third grade,” Lomeli said. “Like many students in this very room, I wanted to make my parents proud for sacrificing so much. Could you imagine leaving everything you’ve ever known, anyone you’ve ever loved, to go to a foreign country where success was not a certainty? That’s what I call unconditional love and dedication.

“One day, I want to be able to repay my parents for the huge investment they’ve made for myself and my siblings, and then later pay it forward to my future family.”

Lomeli also spoke words of encouragement to his fellow seniors.

“Although I haven’t met all of you, I’m confident that every single one of us will go on to achieve something that will help make this world a better place,” Lomeli said. “It has been a pleasure, not only to learn alongside you, but to grow alongside you as well.”