In Surprise Move, Pharr Mayor Matches Scholarships

Thursday, May 30, 2019, Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector Headquarters recognized the importance of higher education and awarded this year’s Youth of the Year recipients at a ceremony held at the Pharr Events Center in Pharr, Texas. The Mayor of the City of Pharr, Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez, matched the Border Patrol’s scholarship donation of $15,000.00, making this year’s scholarship ceremony a record with over $30,000.00 awarded to the students.

Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol presented seniors from 10 high schools with the prestigious Youth of the Year Scholarship. For the last nine years, the Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol has proudly recognized outstanding high school seniors for their excellent academic achievements and significant community service. The Honorable Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez was the keynote speaker for the event. Dr. Hernandez congratulated the students on their outstanding academic achievements, service to community, and delivered an inspirational message to the students – “We should never forget the sacrifices made by parents every morning across the Rio Grande Valley. It is easy to overlook the lack of sleep some parents experience as they wake up early to ensure their children are ready for school, or when they stay up late to make sure they complete their assignments. The same parents that once grabbed their little ones hands to start their first day of school are the same that woke them up today to make sure they were on time to this ceremony. Now, they are all grown up. The recipients being recognized are our future and I work for them. I, along with the City of Pharr, promise them and their parents that we will work as hard as they do towards a bright future.”

“There are so many different emotions pulling on families as they prepare for college and the expenses associated with going off to school. This scholarship provides a small relief to students to jump start their educational endeavors and we are proud to work with community partners who continually invest in students alongside the Border Patrol,” said Communications Director Irma Chapa.

This year, the students were awarded with a $3,000.00 scholarship, a proclamation from U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, a gift card from Top Golf and a gift bag from the RGV Partnership.

Youth of the Year Recipients:

Ariel R. Garcia, San Benito High School

Melissa Lugo, PSJA Early College High School

Jonathan Sherchand, Donna North High School

Victoria Mena, Weslaco East High School

Astrid Villarreal, The Science Academy of South Texas

Joshua Loya, La Joya Early College High School

Oscar Eliceo Hernandez, Lopez Early College High School

Will Scogin, Lyford High School

Catherine Perez, San Isidro High School

David Silva, Edinburg High School

This program’s continued success is attributed to great community partnerships the RGV Border Patrol fosters and proactively promotes, as the investment in the youth today through furthering their education is a key part of their future success. A special thank you to our sponsors:

Head of the Class / Youth of the Year Sponsors:



Region One ESC

Sweet & Tasty

Noble Texas Builders

RGV Buick and GMC Dealers

Shah Eye Center

City of Pharr

RGV Partnership Foundation

Top Golf 

For more information about Border Patrol’s Head of the Class Program or Youth of the Year Scholarship, please contact Special Operations Supervisor Victor Cardenas at 956-289-5647.