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Sammy Ochoa Memorial Scholarship

1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Apr 5, 2024
Winners Announced
May 5, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners

Losing someone close to you is never easy, but while they are no longer here in person, they will always live on in your memory.

This scholarship is in remembrance of Sammy Ochoa, who passed away from cancer in September of 2020. Sammy was an incredibly talented guitar player and also a man of faith who trusted God until his last breath. Above all else, he was a devoted family man who gave his full heart and time to his wife, kids, and grandkids.

The Sammy Ochoa Memorial Scholarship will award $500 each year to one high school senior who will be going to college and who is interested in a career in the medical field, music, or pursuing a trade degree.

You must be from the Vernon, Texas area to be eligible for this scholarship.

To apply, please tell us a bit about yourself and how you plan to make a positive impact on the world. Tell us about some trials and tribulations you and your family have experienced and overcame.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published September 18, 2023
Essay Topic

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you plan to make a positive impact on the world. Share with us some of the trials and tribulations you and your family experienced and overcame.

400–600 words

Winning Application

Ariel Reyes
Vernon High SchoolVERNON, TX
Hi, my name is Ariel Reyes and I am a senior at Vernon High School. I am a mother to a wonderful six month old baby girl who I had at the beginning of my senior year. I have a GPA of 4.6 and ranked 9th out of 115 of my class. I am attending West Texas A&M in the fall of 2024 on a nursing plan. I plan to make a positive impact on the world by one day being able to provide affordable health care to those in need and communities all around the world as well. Attaining a career as a nurse has always been a passion of mine. I’ve always wanted to assist others and improve their quality of life even at their lowest. Therefore, I think pursuing such a career will provide me with the opportunity to help improve the community's health quality conditions and learn about their medical needs. I want to be able to give back to those in need who struggle everyday to keep a family and to those who don't have much medical access like most people do. I want to become one of the best nurses a hospital can have and be by peoples side when they're in need most. With the shortage of nurses yet to come, I want to be the opposite and help the world gain more. I want to take on the opportunity of going to the next level and becoming a successful nurse in the future. Some trials and tribulations I've been through would be becoming a mother at a young age. As I said in the beginning, I had a daughter when I was 17 at the beginning of my senior year. It was something I least expected especially when going into my senior year although it became the best thing that has happened to me. Being a young mom hasn't been easy, between school, parenthood, and work it's hard to balance all. I go to school full time and take college classes as well as work part time after to provide for me and my daughter. With being a senior a lot happens in your last year of high school as well as a lot has to be done too. I'm finishing school regularly to obtain my top 10% position in my class so I can have a better opportunity with my future education. I come from a single parent household of a mother who works two jobs to make ends meet. She's raising two daughters and a granddaughter on her own. She's been working two jobs for over five years now and has done her best to provide a good living for me and my sister. She does so much to give us the opportunity that most people have. She helps take care of my family as well. My grandfather who has poly-cystic kidney disease has had his kidneys taken out for about four years now and does dialysis every day and my grandmother takes care of him. They all try to help one another out the best they can especially under the circumstances. It hasn't been easy for them either, it's definitely been a battle trying to stay healthy and find a donor who matches to try and save his life. The main thing that seems to keep us together is the time we have together and simply us. Even though life hasn't always been fair, it has blessed us in many ways. Only God knows the reason for why we go through the things we do.
Audrey Armstrong
Vernon H SVernon, TX
I'm a senior a Vernon High School. I will graduate on May 27th, 2023. I'm ranked 14 out of 126 students in my class. I will further my education at Midwestern State University in the Fall. There I will major in sport and leisure studies to eventually become a physical therapist. During my time at Vernon High School, I have participated in many sports, such as basketball, volleyball, softball, and golf. I've also been involved in campfire, student council, and PALS. I've always taken honors classes. During my junior and senior years, I've taken dual credit classes while maintaining a 4.5 GPA. I tore my ACL and meniscus during my sophomore year. Due to my injury, I had to undergo different surgeries. With knee surgery comes many months of rough physical therapy. During those months I made many improvements, yet I still felt as if I had made none. It's very discouraging seeing your teammates make improvements and become better players while you learn how to run again. Once I finally finished physical therapy, I realized I wanted to help athletes recover from their injuries while motivating them to do so. I want athletes to have a better physical therapy experience than I did. My family has undergone so much hardship. We lost my step-sister and then lost my grandfather two years later. When my step-sister tragically passed away, our whole lives changed. It was very sudden and unexpected. One day she's laughing and smiling, the next, she's not with us anymore. What brings me the most comfort is knowing she's with God. She was too pure for this world, so God took her home. Her passing has shown me to never ever take anything for granted. It's taught me that tomorrow isn't ever promised. Hug your loved ones because you never know when it will be the last time. My grandpa was like the glue that kept our family together. We knew he would pass soon. Most people say the unexpected hurt worse, but I'm not so sure. I knew it was coming, yet it still hurts me today as much as It did that weary day, and I know my family feels the same. My grandpa was one of the many father figures I have. He was the most faithful person I knew. He made sure I knew how much God loved me, and that God wouldn't ever leave me. I never thought I'd lose him, ever. Although my family has been through hard times, they're still the most genuine people ever. They love hard, and never make me, or my siblings feel less than enough. I hope you'll consider me for this scholarship. Thank you for the opportunity.
Brooke Myers
Vernon High SchoolVernon, TX
From a young age I have had to become more mature than most kids my age. At the beginning of my kindergarten year my father was involved in a car accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down. For that whole year my younger sister and I lived with my aunt and uncle and had to move to a different school. I went through the first year of school without either of my parents since my mother stayed in Denver, Colorado with my dad as he recovered and fought to come back to his family. During this I felt the pressure to be strong for my sister and to make sure to be everything she needed while my parents were gone. I had to step up and learn how to take charge. From this experience I have learned how to channel my emotions into things that will help me succeed. I have also learned how to take charge of a situation and try to make the best out of it. I went to visit him once while he was in the hospital and the thing that has stuck in my mind since then is the positive impact that everyone there had towards the patients. I can't forget how much they encouraged them to gain strength and to push through all the pain to reach the goal of finally being able to go home. Since this experience I have dreamed of being that for someone else. For this reason I am choosing to pursue a degree in Physical Therapy and will attend Texas Tech University in the fall. I want to be able to push people to fight through the tough times to reach their goals and to help better not only their lives but the lives of the people around them. I have also grown to love being an impact on children's lives. From a young age. I have been a member and a volunteer at our local Boys and Girls Club and have gotten to see the impact a positive person can have on their lives. My trials have shaped me and made me grow up a little sooner than those around me but they have shown me that if you believe in yourself and don’t give up you can achieve anything you want in life. Watching my family go through something so difficult and being able to overcome it let’s me know I can and will achieve my future goals.
ashley myrick
Waskom H SMarshall, TX
When I was five years old one of my best friends, my father, passed away. He suffered from idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. While attaining a cardiac transplant, he had his final cessation of neurological activity. I was heartbroken. I couldn’t help but to feel failed by the doctors whose job was to save him. I couldn’t comprehend why these specialists couldn’t help my father. As I saw other people leave their hospital rooms with their family, I wondered what went wrong? Why couldn’t my dad get up and walk out with them? When you’re five people try to answer tough questions it in simple terms, yet when you finally ask after twelve years no one can still tell you. I want to understand what happened and why only some families got to go home together. Twelve years and I’m still waiting for my answer. Ever since then, I’ve been thinking. If no one can tell me why he didn’t survive, I’ll answer it myself. Maybe if I worked hard enough to get to the same position as those doctors, I will know why some people can and cannot live. Maybe I can be better than them. Just maybe can I save some family from falling apart. It took me a while to decide where I would attain this goal. People told me that’s too ambitious of a girl with a single mother and a sibling going through college. They didn’t understand why. I took as a good deal of health, science, and college medical classes I could take while in school. People still continued to say that maybe I should just give it up. My mother believed in my and I thought of my dad every day. I worked hard every year to take as many college classes as possible, and I’ve almost completed my basics with an A+ average. In high school, my lowest grade was never under a 95, I’m ranked third in my class and still raising higher. I know twelve years is going to be expensive, but saving lives is priceless. I’d rather go broke than to stop trying. My dream is to step into the shoes of my father’s doctors and understand what happened. I want to go home at least once and say I saved a person’s life today. No family should have to fall apart from a common procedure.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 5, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 5, 2024.

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