EL PASO, Texas — Last summer, she traded in her sneakers for high heels in hopes of becoming Miss El Paso. A win meant gaining media exposure to launch her volleyball career and experience in front of the cameras for her journalism aspirations. It turned out to be the ace of her game. If being smart, talented, civic minded and articulate is what is needed to win beauty pageants, then UTEP Miner Kelsey Moore, who captured Miss Texas 2010 with no prior pageant experience, could just win Miss USA 2010 in Las Vegas this April. Although she entered the El Paso pageant with only one month to prepare, she astonished the pageant community by her intense focus and uncompromising determination to learn fast. She captured the Miss El Paso title in June and went on to win Miss Texas in September as well.
EL PASO — The fall commencement at the University of Texas at El Paso in December was the first one I ever attend and it was my very own. I am a first generation college graduate, as well as a returning student. Twenty years ago when I first attended college at the age of 18, I had no idea how high the odds were stacked up against me. As it turns out, according to the Pell Institute only 11% of low-income, first generation students ever make it to graduation day. Being the first in my family to attend college means there was no one who had gone before me that could guide me through the tumultuous road. It was a foreign culture I did not navigate well. I didn’t even know what questions I to ask. I didn’t even know that I could drop classes if I were doing poorly. That mistake haunts me today since it still affects my G.P.A.
Only one adult in my life seriously spoke to me about going to college. It was my high school counselor who I still remember affectionately. He is the one who had college brochures and applications sent to my house. My grandmother, however, did not greet those brochures fondly. She saw them as a threat to the cohesiveness of her family. Mr. Joe Jacquez from Thomas Jefferson High School, has passed away since then, but I would like him to know, even though it took a while, his efforts eventually paid off because, I finally did it!
He told students and faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso recently that he was only allowed near his father, newspaper editor Jacobo Timerman, for three minutes and in that short time he found, “…a man destroyed, both physically and mentally…” who pleaded with his family to continue with their lives as if he would never be freed.