At age 15, Mexican native Fernando Rivera crossed the Rio Grande in 1975 in search of a better life. Rivera had obtained a scholarship to attend Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, despite being an undocumented immigrant. “Someone told me about Lydia Patterson and I asked for a scholarship,” said Rivera, who is now 61 years old. “I didn’t think they would have a scholarship because I was illegal, but they helped me.”
The Institute was founded in 1913 with a mission to not only educate the children of Segundo Barrio but also teach them about religion. Almost 100 years later, the private school continues to offer scholarships to deserving students from El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, which covers a portion of the $2,400-a-year tuition.