Edcouch-Elsa has a rich history filled with many people who have graduated from some of
the best colleges in the country and gone on to successful careers – something the people
of these small, rural communities are very proud of.
In that spirit, the Llano Grande Center (www.llanogrande.org) organized a College
& Career Day at Edcouch-Elsa High School, where local alumni shared their
experiences with juniors and seniors in an effort to encourage them to seek higher
education and become contributing members of this resilient community.
More than 25 presenters – most of whom are alumni of Edcouch-Elsa High School, as far back as from the Class of 1966 – attended to share the story of how people from this community care greatly about its future and want to see a new generation of young leaders become as successful as they have.
“Part of the power of this narrative is that we have generations of people who grew up
here, went on to do impressive things, and they want to contribute to the community that
raised them,” said Llano Grande Center Executive Director Dr. Francisco Guajardo. “These
presenters were once just like the students they’ll be talking to, and it’s important for the
young people to see and imagine the possibilities, especially when media messages keep
telling them their community is more mired in despair than in possibility.”
Among the alumni who presented were Lisa Prieto (EE ‘99, Stanford ‘03) who now works as Chief of Staff and Governmental Relations Officer for the President at the University of Texas – Pan American; Delia Perez (EE ‘93, Yale ‘97) who is now a Master Teacher with Monte Alto ISD; Olga Cardoso-Vasquez (EE ’01, Southwestern ’05, and leading advocate for HB 1403) who is a program director with Llano Grande; Juan Ozuna (EE ’96, Yale ’00) who is program director with Llano Grande; Joe Torres (EE ’83, UTPA ’93) who is a civil engineer with BT Infrastructure; and Oscar Gonzalez (EE ‘91, Eastern Michigan, UTPA) who is now Director of Visual Content and Operations at The Monitor newspaper.
More than 500 students at the school participated in the event, making this one of the largest college and career efforts the school has ever held.