The Texas AFL-CIO awarded 28 grants of $1,500 each in the 2022 edition of the Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Program.
For decades, the program, consisting of grants for high school seniors and a smaller number of continuing scholarships, has boosted affiliated union families a step along the difficult road of paying for college.
Amplifying another successful run, the Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Committee voted to establish a third category of scholarship starting in 2023. One grant will go to a current union member looking to return to school to improve his or her career prospects. More information and an application form will be posted later this year.
“The Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Program remains one of our favorite things to do,” Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said. “Helping union families pay for college is a direct investment in the future of the labor movement in Texas. Students who apply for these scholarships get to see close-up how union membership is making a difference in their lives.”
“The Scholarship Program puts teamwork on display every year: the hard work of Central Labor Councils and the Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Committee in judging applications with integrity; the generosity of donors to the scholarship fund; and the oversight of day-to-day and long-term matters by the staff of the Texas AFL-CIO,” Levy said. “We thank all the applicants, who always make us optimistic about the future of the labor movement in Texas."
Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Aguilar, who suggested the new continuing education scholarship category, said it would give affiliated union members who have been in the workforce a chance to further their educations and improve their career prospects.
“Union members have repeatedly asked us to consider adding a category to the scholarship program for working union members,” Aguilar said. “We are proud that the generosity of contributors to the Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Fund has enabled us to address our members’ desire for continuing education.”
This year’s Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Committee, which judges the continuing scholarships and formally approves Central Labor Council selections in the high school program, included: Jeff Darby (AFGE), Chair; Clara Caldwell (APRI); Angi DeFelippo (Tarrant CLC/YALL); Phyllis Goines (IBEW); Renda Marsh (TWU); Ray McMurrey (AFT); and Karina Quintana (AFGE).
The Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Fund — a 501(c)(3) organization that accepts donations that are tax-deductible to the full extent of federal law — saw strong fundraising this year, in large part following the passing of two labor giants from the same Texas union family — Calvin Speight (Plumbers) and Ceole Speight (Harris County AFL-CIO). The Speight family encouraged donations to the Scholarship Fund in lieu of flowers and the response was an overwhelming tribute to these great labor activists’ lifelong accomplishments in the labor movement. Scholarships will be designated in their names for years to come.
Donations to the Scholarship Fund may honor a living person or memorialize a loved one. To contribute, send a check payable to “Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Fund” to Texas AFL-CIO, P.O. Box 12727, Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711 or contact Texas AFL-CIO Accountant Emily Speight at email@example.com.
Donors of at least one $1,500 scholarship in the 2022 cycle include: Mechanical Contracting Independent Fund of Houston; Plumbers Local 68; The Speight Family; Joe and Dorothy Gunn (legacy); Insulators Local 22; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 450; and South Atlantic & Gulf Coast International Longshoremen’s Association.
Scholarship recipients, donors, and memorials are listed below.
Another factor of growing importance: Central Labor Councils, whose scholarship committees judge the high school portion of the Texas AFL-CIO competition, were inspired to complement the program with their own local scholarships in record numbers. Some CLCs have done this for many years.
A few examples:
—In Austin, CLC President Jason Lopez reports the council, after considering the excellence of this year’s applications, decided to fund $1,500 scholarships for two additional students besides the two scholarships allocated under the Texas AFL-CIO program. Those scholarships went to Jaci Washington (Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1091) and Diego Ramirez (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 520).
—The Harris County Labor Assembly awarded scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000 to Renee Schoellman (Plumbers Local 68); Jayme Scott Wilkey (Firefighters Local 341); Bryce Lebow (Steelworkers 13-1); Erin Graves (AFT 6345); Camden Box (Steelworkers 13-1); Dancely Euceda (Ironworkers Local 84); and Brock Lebow (Steelworkers 13-1).
—The Tarrant County Central Labor Council reports Jessica Case received the Kendall Hill Scholarship ($2,500) and a scholarship funded by the Doctors Guild ($1,000), while Kylie Keeler and Amelia Kugler received $1,500 scholarships from the CLC.
As always, the Texas AFL-CIO high school senior scholarships are judged based on multiple factors: academic performance, extracurricular activities, financial need, interviews, and performance on a test on the basics of the labor movement. The Texas AFL-CIO provides materials on labor unions to help students prepare for the test.
The 2023 Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Program launches at the end of October. Deadline for high school applications will be Tuesday, Jan. 31. Applications for continuing student and continuing career scholarships will be due in May, with a precise date set later. (After the deadline, high school recipients from the previous three years will be invited to apply for continuing scholarships.)
2022 Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Program Recipients
(CLCs and scholarship donors/memorials in parentheses)
Tori Bertrand of Bridge City — Winner of a Continuing Scholarship, Bertrand attends Lamar University. She tutors and mentors first-year nursing students, volunteers at the union hall, works at a local gym teaching young girls tumbling, and helps her grandmother on weekends. Bertrand is the daughter of Gina Bertrand. Sister Bertrand is a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 479. (Continuing; Texas AFL-CIO)
Zane Box of Lantana — Ranked in the top 10 percent of his class at John H. Guyer High School, Box is attending the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He participated in football, baseball, and National Honor Society, and worked at his own landscape company. Box is the son of Justin and Rebecca Box. Brother Box is a member of Teamsters Local 767. (Tarrant CLC; Texas AFL-CIO)
Ashley Brown of Texas City — Ranked in the top 20 percent of her class at Texas City High School, Brown plans to attend College of the Mainland. She participated in Stigarettes and Collegiate High School. Brown is the daughter of Terry and Shelby Brown. Brother Brown is a member of United Steelworkers Local 13-1. (Galveston Labor Assembly; Texas AFL-CIO)
Xavier Anthony Contreras of Dallas — Ranked 16th in his class at Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet, Contreras plans to attend the University of Texas-Austin. He participated in chess club, math club and eSports. Contreras is the son of Sixto Contreras and Veronica Torres. Sister Torres is a member of Alliance of Dallas Educators and Contreras is a member of Texas Iron Workers 263. (Dallas CLC; Texas AFL-CIO)
Ka’Charo Quinone Cook II of Milford — Ranked 4th in his class at Milford High School, Cook plans to attend the University of Houston. He participated in Future Farmers of America, National Honor Society and several sports. Cook is the son of Ka’Charo and Trish Cook. Brother Cook is a member of United Steelworkers Local 201M. (No Central Labor Council jurisdiction; Speight Family)
Essien D. Cooper of Mesquite —Ranked in the top 10 percent of her class at John Horn High School, Cooper plans to attend University of Texas-San Antonio. She participated in varsity basketball, FCA, National Honor Society, BETA Club, and as a youth minister. Cooper is the daughter of Edwin and Sunda Cooper. Brother Cooper is a member of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 132 (Dallas CLC; Texas AFL-CIO)
Faith Marie Hope Dawson of Lubbock — Ranked in the top half of her class at Lubbock High School, Dawson plans to attend Texas Tech University. She participated in marching band, wind ensemble, chorale, and madrigals. Dawson is the daughter of Michael and Annetra Dawson. Brother Dawson is a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 602. (Lubbock CLC; Texas AFL-CIO)
Brandie Driver of Fort Worth — Ranked in the top 10 percent of her class at Boswell High School, Driver will begin college attendance in the Spring semester. She participated in choir, show choir and Pioneer Mentors. Driver is the daughter of Chris Driver and Laurie Sayre. Brother Driver is a member of United Auto Workers Local 218. (Tarrant CLC; Texas AFL-CIO)
Taylor Dyess of Wills Point — Ranked in the top 10 percent of her class at Wills Point High School, Dyess plans to attend Trinity Valley Community College. She participated in volleyball, basketball, softball and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Dyess is the daughter of Dan and Mechelle Hagler. Brother Hagler is a member of United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 100. (Dallas CLC; In Memory of Calvin Speight)
Riley Hagdorn of Devine — Ranked 5th in her class at Devine High School, Hagdorn plans to attend Texas A&M University. She participated in band, color guard (captain), dance, book allies volunteer, and worked at HEB. Hagdorn is the daughter of Lance and Jenni Hagdorn. Brother Hagdorn is a member of the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 142. (San Antonio CLC; Texas AFL-CIO)
Jaden Hernandez of Mission —Ranked 20th in his class at Pioneer High School, Hernandez plans to attend Texas A&M University. He participated in marching band, jazz band, wind ensemble, robotics, environmental science, P.A.W.S. and computer science UIL. Hernandez is the son of Edith Hernandez. Sister Hernandez is a member of American Federation of Teachers Local 6329. (Rio Grande Valley; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 450)
Jorden Hernandez of Mission — Ranked 16th in his class at Pioneer High School, Hernandez plans to attend Texas A&M University. He participated in marching band, Student Council, robotics, environmental science, P.A.W.S. and book club. Hernandez is the son of Edith Hernandez. Sister Hernandez is a member of American Federation of Teachers Local 6329. (Rio Grande Valley; Texas AFL-CIO)
Lily Koppen of Austin — Ranked 3rd in her class at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, Koppen plans to attend Smith College. She participated in Student Body (vice president) and Yearbook (editor-in-chief), held an internship, and was a Social and Emotional Learning Leader. Koppen is the daughter of Andrew Procter and Jennifer Koppen. Brother Procter is a member of International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 484. (Austin CLC; The Speight Family)
Allison Lew of Pearland — Ranked in the top 10 percent of her class at Glenda Dawson High School, Lew plans to attend UT-Austin. She participated in Dawson Eagle Band and church activities. Lew is the daughter of Derek and Cynthia Lew. Brother Lew is a member of Houston Federation of Teachers Local 2415. (Harris Labor Assembly; Plumbers Local 68)
Ayanna Monderoy of Spring — Recipient of a Continuing Scholarship, Monderoy attends Stephen F. Austin University. She participates in Honors Student Association, Junior Council on Family Relations, Sustainability Club, Early Childhood Organization, Talking Hands (sign language club), and First Generation College Student Organization. She has also been involved in community recycling projects and volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club of Nacogdoches. Monderoy is the daughter of Michael Morian and Sarah Monderoy Garcia. Sister Monderoy is a member of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers Local 811. (Continuing; In Memory of Ceole Speight)
Andrea Lucy Muguerza of Clute — Ranked 4th in her class at Angleton High School, Muguerza plans to attend University of Texas-Austin. She participated in Girl Scouts, National Honor Society, Work-Force-in-Training, and Leo Club. Muguerza is the daughter of Lee and Nilda Muguerza. Brother Muguerza is a member of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 564. (Tideland CLC; Insulators Local 22)
Celia Carolina Negrete of Humble — Ranked #1 in a class of 646 at Humble High School, Negrete plans to attend Texas A&M University. She participated in orchestra as a cellist, National Honor Society (President) and Academic Team. Negrete is the daughter of Pete and Hilda Negrete. Brother Negrete is a member of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 341. (Harris Labor Assembly; Joe & Dorothy Gunn legacy)
Krislyn Alexia Perez of Dallas — Winner of a Continuing Scholarship, Perez attends University of North Texas-Dallas. She performed volunteer work at Leslie A. Stemmons Elementary School. Perez is the daughter of Sandra Perez. Sister Perez is a member of Alliance/AFT Local 2260. (Continuing; Texas AFL-CIO)
Ashley Pretty of Texas City — Winner of a Continuing Scholarship, Pretty attends the University of Houston. As a member of the Bonner Leaders Program, she has volunteered to help address poverty in the community around the university, distributing food and helping high school students prepare for the ACT exam. Pretty is the daughter of Ross and Monique Pretty. Brother Pretty is a member of United Steelworkers Local 13-1. (Continuing; Plumbers Local 68)
Dakarey Ramsay of Houston — Ranked in the top quarter of his class at Dobie High School, Ramsay plans to attend San Jacinto College. He participated in football and track & field. Ramsay is the son of Godfrey and Dianne Ramsay. Brother Ramsay is a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 716. (Harris Labor Assembly; Mechanical Contracting Independent Fund of Houston)
Dante Rafael Rivera of El Paso — Carrying a 3.78 grade point average at El Paso High School, Rivera plans to attend UT-El Paso. He participated in Student Council and Dual Language/Connecting Worlds Program. Rivera is the son of Ricardo and Lorena Rivera. Brother Rivera is a member of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 51. (El Paso CLC; Texas AFL-CIO)
McKeanne Rose Saenz of Martindale — Ranked in the top third of her class at San Marcos High School, Saenz plans to attend Howard Payne University. She participated in National Honor Society, powerlifting and varsity softball. Saenz is the daughter of Jose L. Saenz. Brother Saenz is a member of Sprinkler Fitters Local 669. (Austin CLC; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 450)
Keira Sargent of Iowa Park — Ranked in the top quarter of her class at Iowa Park High School, Sargent plans to attend Midwestern State University. She participated in National Honor Society and Peers Assistance Leadership. Sargent is the daughter of Dustin and Ashley Sargent. Brother Sargent is a member of International Association of Machinists Local 2771. (Wichita Falls CLC; South Atlantic & Gulf Coast International Longshoremen’s Association)
Daniel Sory of Sour Lake — Ranked 21st in his class at Hardin-Jefferson High School, Sory plans to attend Texas Tech University. He participated in marching band, concert band, wind ensemble, jazz band and UIL academics. Sory is the son of Kernon and Lynn Sory. Brother Sory is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 479. (Sabine Area CLC; Texas AFL-CIO)
Logan Harrison Starks of Haslet — Carrying a 3.76 grade point average at V.R. Eaton High School, Starks plans to attend Oklahoma Wesleyan University. He participated in varsity baseball. Starks is the son of Henry and Hope Starks. Brother Starks is a member of United Auto Workers Local 218. (Tarrant CLC; Texas AFL-CIO)
Sylvia Tanguma of Edinburg — Recipient of a Continuing Scholarship, Tanguma attends UT-Austin. She participates in Running Club, volunteers at the McAllen American Federation of Teachers office when she is home, and volunteered at the Together We Rise Citizenship Forum in McAllen. Tanguma is the daughter of Victor and Sylvia Tanguma. Sister Tanguma is a member of McAllen American Federation of Teachers Local 6329. (Continuing; Texas AFL-CIO)
Danae Villalva of El Paso — Ranked 5th in her class at Eastlake High School, Villalva plans to attend Johns Hopkins University. She participated in varsity basketball, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, We (Fill in the Blank), and VITA. Villalva is the daughter of Juan Villalva and Veronica Villanueva. Brother Villalva is a member of Communications Workers of America Local 6143 in San Antonio. (San Antonio CLC; In Memory of Rosa Walker)
Grace Williams of Amarillo — Ranked in the top third of her class at Amarillo High School, Williams plans to attend the University of Oklahoma. She participated in volleyball, Student Council, Key Club, and a variety of volunteer work. Williams is the daughter of Richard and Amber Williams. Brother Williams is a member of United Steelworkers Local 13-487. (Amarillo CLC; Texas AFL-CIO)
List of Donors to Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Fund
(Sept. 1, 2021-July 15, 2022)
AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust
Austin AFL-CIO Council
Jimmy & Nelda Blair
Tony & Cynthia Chenevert
Dawson & Dawson
El Paso Building & Construction Trades Council
Patrick M. Flynn, P.C.
Gulf States Plumbing and Mechanical
HCL Mechanical Services
Health Care Service Corp. (Blue Cross Blue Shield)
Houston Gulf Coast Building & Construction Trades Council
Humphrey Company, Ltd.
IBEW Local 716
Insulators & Allied Workers Local 22
Iron Workers #84
Mechanical Contracting Independent Fund Houston
Emily A. Miller, Attorney at Law
Eric A. Nelson Law Office
David and Carol Patterson
Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 286
Plumbers Local 68
Boyd & Betty Richie
Sabine Area Central Labor Council
Judith A. Sadegh
South Atlantic & Gulf Coast ILA
Southeast Texas Building & Construction Trades Council
Dennis & Emily Speight
Texas AFL-CIO General Fund
Union Labor Life Insurance Co.
Kristie & Brian Veit
Bill & Andrea White
Linda K. White
Sept. 1, 2021-July 15, 2022
John W. Berry
Philip Chavez Jr.
Jesse Limon Colunga
Joe T. Craig Jr.
Michael Ross Finger
Zenon Lara III
Richard B. Weyel
Jacob Lee Ybanez