San Antonio Area Foundation’s Legacy Scholarship Program recognizes local academic talent

Nearly two dozen talented Webb County students have been selected to receive $40,000 each for their upcoming college studies as 2023 San Antonio Area Foundation Legacy Scholarship recipients.

The 20 high school juniors took part in a highly competitive application process with a selection committee comprised of Laredo officials and community leaders. The students were chosen as juniors so they will have ample time and peace of mind going into their senior year that they can budget college costs knowing they’ve already secured this scholarship.

“We’re extremely thrilled,” said Bernice Uresti, the Area Foundation’s Executive Director for Legacy Scholarship and Scholars. “We strongly believe in investing in our future leaders through their educational success, particularly for those from low-income areas facing a daunting challenge to reach their educational goals and dreams.”

Each scholarship recipient – dubbed “Legacy Scholar” – has committed to attending a Texas college (public or private) as part of the Legacy Scholarship eligibility requirements. As long as they maintain set academic standards, they will receive $10,000 each for their four years of study. 

They will join additional 2023 Legacy Scholars from Bexar County as part of a $4 million commitment for this scholarship program, funded by a private anonymous donor and one of the largest in the country. In just its second year, the Legacy Scholarship Program has already doubled in size, from awarding 50 recipients in 2022 to 100 this year.

The Area Foundation will hold a ceremony at 6 p.m. on April 12 at Texas A & M International University for Legacy Scholars (and their families) in recognition of their tremendous academic achievement.

One of those students being recognized is Eliza Zapata, a junior at Lyndon B. Johnson High School. She was ecstatic when Uresti called her recently to let her know she had been selected.

“Oh my God! Thank you so much! Oh my God, I’m going to cry. I’m literally going to cry now!” she effused to Uresti, noting that her plans are to get into Rice University in Houston and pursue biology or biomedical studies. “Only if you knew my mom, she’s going to start hysterically crying too. Literally, my heart dropped. I appreciate you guys so much, I really do!”

Though serving as funder and event organizer, the Area Foundation is thankful as well – to the many Laredo-area educational and community leaders whose partnership has been crucial in implementing the Legacy Program. Many, like Mary Prevost, volunteered their time to show their support for local students and their academic and career dreams.

“Financial obstacles are many times the major reason students don’t continue their education after high school, and the Legacy scholarship gives hope to those students,” said Prevost, who retired after nearly four decades as a Laredo educator and who served on the scholarship selection committee. “I will continue to support this program in any way possible.”