"George" Highlights University Float for Saturday Celebration

Laredoans and visitors to the Gateway City this weekend are in for a treat with the presentation of Texas A&M International University's float for Saturday's Washington's Birthday Celebration Parade.

Featuring our founding father at various stages in his life, it's a colorful testimonial to the importance of lifelong education.

Betty Momayezi, executive director of student life, said the University wanted to help bring home the importance of education for all lives through the singular life of George Washington.

"It's always an exciting challenge to develop an idea that will have special relevance for the Celebration, but we felt that this year's float needed to underscore how education informs all lives. What better way than to personify the life stages of our first father," she noted.

George as a young child will be portrayed by Max Cantu, son of University associate director of enrollment management Diedre Cantu.

Jerry Alva, a sophomore political science major at A&M International, portrays George as a young man.

And there's George as our Nation's first father, portrayed by 80- year-old Alonso Vela, a first semester freshman at A&M International.

"Mr. Vela offers the most powerful testimony for the continuation of education. He is an inspiration to all of us and we thought his accomplishment and initiative are especially encouraging to people and students of all ages," Momayezi explained.

She said the University is blessed with a diverse, international community of students from right around the corner and over 35 foreign countries that have provided insight into preparation for the event.

"They noted that we should simultaneously capture the international component of our student body with lifelong education and our impending 30th anniversary," Momayezi explained.

Constructed by the University's Physical Plant staff, the float is 25-feet long and features the University's signature colors, maroon and silver, a large globe and a bubble machine that hints at the University's upcoming 30th anniversary of excellence in higher education service, teaching and research.

For additional information, contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326.2180.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu