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BHS Senior Surprised with Full Scholarship to UT-Austin

senior Elizabeth Moctezuma-Manzanero

Belton High School senior Elizabeth Moctezuma-Manzanero experienced a surprise of a lifetime in science teacher Danielle Jones’ classroom Tuesday morning.

“I can’t believe that something like this could happen to me,” she said after her parents, BHS college and career advisor Michelle Delongchamps, and University of Texas at Austin admissions counselor Eniola Ibisanmi entered the room.

A shocked Moctezuma-Manzanero family stood by as Ibisanmi presented Elizabeth with an admissions letter to UT-Austin, but that was only part of the surprise.

“We have a big check for you today and this is $48,000 which will cover your whole tuition at the University of Texas at Austin,” Ibisanmi said.

Elizabeth was awarded an Impact Scholarship, which acknowledges students who stand out as leaders in their community. She has had her heart set on UT ever since visiting the campus in the fifth grade.

“That’s when I fell in love with the university and decided this is the only school I applied to because I only wanted to go there,” she said about her plan to major in textiles and apparel. “I love to create and design. It’s something I really want to pursue because it makes me happy.”

As a first-generation college student, paying for higher education weighed heavily on her.

“It [the scholarship] gives me the opportunity to be able to major in what I wanted to,” she said. “I kind of thought maybe I wouldn’t go to college because it costs so much and maybe I’ll do something else for a living. But now I can really see my dream happening.”

Elizabeth’s parents, Silvia and Ruben, were beaming with pride during the check presentation.

“We were very surprised. And I feel so blessed,” Elizabeth’s dad said.

Her mother mentioned her daughter’s dedication to school work.

“She has always been a hard worker, Elizabeth’s mom said. “Sometimes she doesn’t go to some places because she has to study. Miss one day of school, it’s a tragedy for her.” 

Elizabeth’s teachers, like AP English IV instructor Melissa Fasolino, echoed those sentiments about her commitment.

“She is one of the most dedicated and persistent students that I have taught in 20 years,” Fasolino said. “A lot of times I will use Elizabeth’s work as the exemplar in class because she sets the bar really high for the other students.”

Elizabeth recently earned the distinction as a College Board Hispanic Scholar for 2020, an honor given to Hispanic/Latino high school students with top performance on the PSAT.

In addition to her academic work, Elizabeth also participates in Chamber and UIL Orchestras and volunteers for the National Honor Society and at the Lena Armstrong Public Library.

“I love to read. I love the friendly environment that’s there,” she said. “I usually help with shelving or straightening or organizing their equipment.” 

Elizabeth’s passion for service and helping those around her are primary reasons why she is one of 16 students in the Central Texas area who is receiving the Impact Scholarship.

“This is basically my dream,” she said, “I’m so blessed right now.” 

Joshua Wucher
November 12, 2019