Student Womens' Group Selects 13 Local "Pathmakers"

A student organization at Texas A&M International University has named 13 extraordinary women "Pathmakers/Abrecaminos" for their roles in making more opportunities available for Laredo women.

Women Advancing Women (WAW) selected the 13 from nominations received from the community at large. Those selected are featured in a new calendar available for sale from WAW as part of its fundraising efforts.

On Saturday, Feb. 12, WAW will be at Mall del Norte's Center Court from 1-3 p.m. Selling the calendars and recruiting new members.

Bea Guevara, student representative for WAW, said the women are considered 'abrecaminos' who have opened the future for others.

"All of the women in the 'abrecaminos' calendar serve not only as role models but as reminders that women can succeed in making their dreams come true. It is through their hard work and determination that other women and girls can now choose life paths that had previously been closed to women," Guevara explained.

Those selected for the honor include:

Jovita Idar - A teacher, journalist and political activist born in Laredo in 1885. She became the first president of the Liga Femenil Mexicanista in October 1911 and organized its principal effort to provide education for poor children.

Senator Judith Zaffirini -- First border resident elected to represent Senatorial District 21 in 20 years and first Hispanic woman Senator in Texas, she is also the first to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate and Texas Governor for a day.

Mayor Betty Flores -- The first female Mayor of the City of Laredo.

Maria de la Luz Cardenas -- The first Mexican-American female instructor in the area of American History and service as the first female Assistant to the Academic Dean at Laredo Community College. Judge Rosaura P. Tijerina -- Elected Laredo's first Municipal court Judge on May 2, 1998.

Mary Nell Sanchez -- Selected as KGNS-TV, local NBC affiliate's first Hispanic Female News Director in its history. She is also a graduate of Texas A&M International University.

Viola M. Moore -- The first female administrator at a 5A high school in Texas and the first female principal of a 5A high school.

Officer Michelle G. Hinojosa -- Laredo's first female Police Officer.

Judge Elma Teresa Salinas Ender -- The first Mexican-American appointed and elected to a District Court bench in the history of the State of Texas and the United States.

Pamela R. Juarez -- For her leadership and direction in the recognition of Finley Elementary School as the first National Blue Ribbon School in Laredo.

Raquel Valle Senties -- As the first female owner-operator nationwide of a rental center here and as the first poet in Laredo to receive an international prize in literature.

Dr. Norma E. Cantu -- Texas A&M International University professor and author, who was the first Chicana faculty member in the Division of Arts and Sciences at then-Laredo State University in 1980 and first Fulbright Scholar. She is also a graduate of Texas A&M International University.

Captain Annabelle G. Venegas -- The first and only female firefighter who has served the Laredo Fire Department since 1975.

Guevara said the Pathmakers/Abrecaminos Calendars are available for a minimum donation of $7.00 at Texas A&M International University or Print-X-Press.

WAW will formally honor its recipients of the Pathmakers/Abrecaminos honors at the upcoming "Brindis a la Mujer-Toast to Women" event scheduled March 3 at Texas A&M International University's Sue and Radcliffe Killam, Great Room.

On Feb. 12, WAW will also be at Mall Del Norte's Center Court from 1-3 p.m. Selling the calendars and recruiting new WAW members.

For additional information, please contact Guevara at by email at 712.0624.

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