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Carlos Zaffirini, Jr. Honors Mom by Establishing Teachers' College Student Loan Debt Grant Program Posted: 2/09/18

Carlos Zaffirini, Jr. Honors Mom by Establishing Teachers' College Student Loan Debt Grant Program

 

Globe at TAMIU Entrance
State Senator Judith Zaffirini  

The Senator Judith Zaffirini Teachers’ College Student Loan Debt Grant Program was announced Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 by Carlos Zaffirini, Jr., in honor of his mother and in advance of her Feb. 13 birthday.

Five Laredo educators received $2,000 grants to help pay their college student loan debts. To qualify, teachers must have taught in Laredo for at least five years; have a college student loan debt of at least $5,000; and be selected by his or her institution, based on the program’s criteria. They were honored at a reception Friday (Feb. 9) at the Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center, second floor.

 Participating entities are Texas A&M International University (TAMIU), Laredo Community College, St. Augustine High School, United Independent School District and Laredo Independent School District. Each selected its honoree in January.

 The 2018 Recipients recognized for their outstanding dedication to Laredo students are:

 Ricardo Esqueda, Bonnie García Elementary School (United Independent School District); Dr. Melissa P. García, Texas A&M International University; Dr. Hillary Gleason, Laredo Community College; Edgar Perez, St. Augustine Elementary School and Patricia Sosa, Mcdonnell Elementary School (Laredo Independent School District).  In addition to the Award, each received a plaque recognizing their selection.

 Carlos Zaffirini shared the motivation for his initiative.

 “My mother completed three degrees at The University of Texas at Austin only because of a National Defense Student Loan,” Zaffirini, Jr. said, “and she paid it largely through teacher loan forgiveness programs.

 “Her passion since then has been to make higher education accessible and affordable for all Texans, especially South Texans. What better way to honor her on her birthday than to help teachers pay their college student loan debts? This is my way of saying ‘thank you’ not only to her, but also to those who made her education possible through student loans,” he explained.

 The president and CEO of Adelanto Health Care Ventures (AHCV), LLC, a healthcare finance consulting firm, Zaffirini, Jr. is an attorney, businessperson and philanthropist. Since 2012, he has honored his mother annually with endowed gifts. These include $100,000 scholarships at TAMIU, UT-Austin, and the Baylor College of Medicine; the Access to Justice Initiative at the UT Law School; and a family patient suite at the UT Dell Seton Medical Center.

Locally, Zaffirini, Jr. also helps fund the Boys and Girls Club, Junior Achievement, South Texas Food Bank, Rio Grande International Study Center and the Imaginarium. His focus is on a variety of programs that enhance the quality of life of low-income Texans and their access to education, health, justice, business opportunities and the arts.

 “Higher education truly is my passion,” Senator Zaffirini said. “I wish I could express the love, pride and joy that I feel to see my son not only share it, but also embrace it through his generosity in countless arenas, especially in education.”

 The Teachers’ College Student Debt Grant Program will continue at least through 2020, and may be extended. Participating institutions will select their respective recipients each year.

 Additional information on the Program is available from Marijo Maracoux, administrative assistant, via marijo@ahcv.com or 512-814-2434.

Award Recipients

First Award Recipients

Five local educators were selected to receive the inaugural Senator Judith Zaffirini Teachers’ College Student Loan Debt Grant Program Awards in ceremonies Friday at Texas A&M International University. Program initiator Carlos Zaffirini, Jr. created the program to honor his mother, Senator Zaffirini. Recipients (seated)  include, front, left to right: Edgar Perez, St. Augustine Elementary School; Ricardo Esqueda, Bonnie García Elementary School (United Independent School District); Dr. Hillary Gleason, Laredo Community College; Dr. Melissa P. García, Texas A&M International University, and Patricia Sosa, Mcdonnell Elementary School (Laredo Independent School District).  In addition to the Award, each received a plaque recognizing their selection.