Art student receives Gates Millennium Scholarship

Lizeth Terrazas shows off some of her artwork in her VMT art class. Terrazas is one of 1,000 students who received a Gates Millennium Scholarship this spring.

The Magnet Tribune: April Valdez

Lizeth Terrazas shows off some of her artwork in her VMT art class. Terrazas is one of 1,000 students who received a Gates Millennium Scholarship this spring.

April Valdez

Visual Arts student Lizeth Terrazas said she cried when she found out she received a Gates Millennium Scholarship this spring.

Just 1,000 students nationwide receive this award yearly.

“I didn’t think I was going to get it because I was one out of 52,000 people that applied,” Terrazas, who is also valedictorian at J.W. Nixon High School, said. “I didn’t think my chances were that good, so I was really happy. So were my parents.”

“I’m glad I got it. I put in a lot of time. I sacrificed a lot of time with friends, family and sleep, so I’m glad my hard work paid off,” Terrazas added.

I think my entire four years at VMT have been my highlight. Being a part of VMT as a whole is the highlight of my life, so far.”

— Lizeth Terrazas

Terrazas explained what the Gates scholarship is.

“It’s a scholarship that Bill Gates himself gives out to students for their entire education,” Terrazas said.

The millennium scholarship site says of the scholarship: Each of the 1,000 students will be awarded a good-through-graduation scholarship that can be used to pursue a degree in any undergraduate major at the accredited college or university of his or her choice.

She said the scholarship means a lot to her.

“It means a lot to me because my family doesn’t have a lot of money, so the fact that they don’t have to worry about it takes a big load off my shoulders,” Terrazas said.

Terrazas said she doesn’t have just one highlight of her years at VMT.

“I think my entire four years at VMT have been my highlight,” Terrazas said. “Being a part of VMT as a whole is the highlight of my life, so far.”

Terrazas sees herself still in college 4 years from now.

“I do plan on continuing studying in college, studying art after my bachelors,” she said.

She received support from her visual arts instructor, Gilberto Rocha, who nominated and recommended Terrazas for the scholarship.

How did he feel about her receiving it?

“Proud, very happy for her,” Rocha said. “I think she really deserves it. She’s one of the hardest working students that I’ve known ever.”

Rocha explained his role in her receiving the scholarship.

“She was the one who took action to receive it. She was the one who found out all the information and knew exactly what to do, and all I had to do was help with the recommendation itself,” Rocha explained. “But other than that she’s a go getter and that’s why I’m saying she really deserves this.

“She initiated the whole proposal of applying, and it’s easy when you have students that are such hard workers and that take that initiative to bring you all these things. It’s just a matter of backing them up and helping them, especially when they make everything so easy.”

He said her fellow art students also feel proud of Terrazas’ scholarship.

“Not me just as a teacher, but as a whole group we’re really honored that she got that scholarship,” Rocha explained. “I feel like we’re a team, and so when she got it we all felt super happy and we still are.”

Others should also feel proud of her achievement, he said.

“I think as a school we should be honored, even as Laredo because out of the 52,000 students that applied only 1,000 got it, and that’s a big accomplishment,” Rocha said.

He said it might be a long time before another local student receives it.

“I don’t know when we’ll have a student who wins a scholarship like that again; it’ll maybe a long time.”

Terrazas said Rocha teaches more than just art.

“I don’t think I would have gotten the scholarship without him,” Terrazas said. “He not only teaches me how to be a better artist, but a better person as well,” Terrazas said.