Edinburg CISD student surprised with $48,000 UT Impact Scholarship

EDINBURG – Edinburg CISD student Daniela Gonzalez from Economedes High School answered a knock at the door of her northeastern Hidalgo County home on Saturday and was surprised by University of Texas officials carrying burnt orange and white balloons and a large check for $48,000.

“I’m speechless. I didn’t expect this,” said Daniela. I’m super happy and grateful.”

Daniela was one of only four students from the Rio Grande Valley that received the University of Texas at Austin Impact Scholarship. Overall, UT awarded 60 Impact Scholarships throughout the State of Texas on Dec. 14 as part of Impact Texas Day.

“We’re choosing students that make an impact in their community and an impact at their school,” said David Garcia, director of the UT Austin Valley Admissions Center. “Daniela is definitely one of those students that has done amazing things for Edinburg and for Economedes. So, we really chose her for this specific scholarship for that reason.”

According to Garcia, these scholarships recognize students who are making an impact in their communities through demonstrated leadership, proven academic success, perseverance and commitment to their school and community.

Garcia revealed to Daniela that she was not only admitted into the University’s psychology program, but also into the honors college within the Liberal Arts College.

“We are so happy and so proud of Daniela,” said Economedes High School Principal Jesus Mata, who is also a graduate of UT Austin. “Her hard work and dedication have definitely paid off. She is a perfect example and role model, not only for our campus, but also for Edinburg CISD, and of course for her community.”

Joining Garcia and Mata at Daniela’s home were UT admissions staff, UT alumni and counselors from Economedes High School.

“I am happy that Mrs. Canales is here,” Daniela said. “Ever since my freshman year, she has pushed me to do my best and better myself.”

Economedes High School Early College Counselor Carmel Canales cried with excitement as she hugged Daniela soon after the surprising news.

“She’s excelled in her Dual Enrollment Program. She’s excelled in her AP (Advanced Placement) courses. She’s going to be receiving her associate’s degree two weeks before she graduates from high school. And now, she’s a future Longhorn,” Canales-Saenz said. “I am so happy, so proud, and so honored that was I was able to be the person that was able to help guide her through her time with us at Economedes High School.”

The scholarship will cover Daniela’s tuition costs for four years at UT Austin, where she plans to pursue a degree in psychology.