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Pharr EDC Foundation Supporting the Bright Futures of 122 Scholars

Celebrating Four Years, a Million-Dollar Milestone

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Victor Pérez, Presidente and CEO, Pharr EDC. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
Victor Pérez, President and CEO, Pharr EDC. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
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By Roberto Hugo González

On May 9, 2024, at the Regency Hall in Pharr, TX, the City of Pharr, the Pharr EDC, and the Pharr Economic Development Foundation proudly hosted the 2024 Scholarship Awards Ceremony, giving 122 scholarships to the deserving students of Pharr, Texas, and the surrounding PSJA area. This significant event not only celebrated academic excellence but also stressed the remarkable community impact of these young individuals. As we recognized their solid dedication, leadership, and commitment to educational pursuits, the ceremony stood out as an inspiration and a memorable gathering for all present.

Perla Tamez Casanova. Photo by Roberto Hugo González

Perla Tamez Casanova is a proud product of South Texas’s public schools and has been a resident of Pharr for nearly 15 years. She was the MC for the event and said, “With a master’s degree and a thriving business, I started at 21, and my roots and heart firmly belong to Las Milpa and Pharr. As we honor our students’ academic and community achievements tonight, we celebrate their current successes and eagerly anticipate their future contributions to South Texas and beyond.” She continued, “We are gathered here, surrounded by the scholarship recipients’ friends and family, to affirm these students’ bright futures and encourage them to continue adding value to our region. The mission of the Pharr Economic Development Foundation is to foster economic growth and workforce development in Pharr—a vision we all share and strive towards. So, as we move forward, let’s cheer for their return and continued impact on our beloved community.”

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Victor Pérez, President/CEO of the Pharr EDC and Chairman of the PEDC Foundation, took the stage to express his gratitude. He began by thanking his predecessor, Perla, for her warm introduction and reflecting on the foundation’s continued commitment to supporting the educational aspirations of local students. “In our fourth year, we have once again provided scholarships to students whose futures we deeply care about,” Pérez said. He emphasized the scholarships as a symbol of the foundation’s appreciation for each recipient’s academic and personal growth.

A former educator, Pérez accentuated the foundation’s educational philosophy, shaped by his and his wife Elizabeth’s lifelong commitment to teaching. He acknowledged the indispensable support of the Pharr EDC staff and the foundation board, highlighting their collective effort to make the event successful. With a nod to the well-attended ceremony, he celebrated the community’s robust and firm support for the students, a support that has been instrumental in their journey and success.

Pérez concluded by urging the scholarship recipients to remember their roots and the community’s investment in their futures. “We hope these scholarships serve not only as a token of our support but as a reminder of your potential to contribute meaningfully back to our community,” he stated, inviting the students to leverage their education for personal success and eventually give back to Pharr and the region. His message was a resonant call for unity and ongoing support within the community, emphasizing the role of education in economic and personal development.

Perla highlighted the sources of funding for the scholarships, explaining, “The money is raised through various events such as gala celebrations, casino nights, golf tournaments, sponsorships, and generous donations from our supporters. I am pleased to share that one hundred percent of these funds are allocated directly to the scholarship awards.” She continued, “I would also like to extend a special thanks to the owner of Regency Hall for their generous in-kind donation of this incredible venue. Please join me in giving a round of applause to the owner of Regency Hall.”

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Returning to the podium, Pérez briefly addressed the audience in light of Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez’s unexpected absence due to a delayed flight. He smoothly transitioned the focus to the event’s agenda, saying, “Let’s continue our scheduled program. As outlined in your booklets, we have a fantastic lineup, including our guest speaker and the scholarship award presentation. Today, we are awarding scholarships to over 122 deserving students. Over the past four years, the Pharr Economic Development Corporation Foundation has proudly distributed over $1 million in scholarships. Let’s proceed to celebrate and support the bright futures of these young scholars.”

Annabel Cardona. Photo by Roberto Hugo González

Annabel Cardona, CEO of the Valley Grande Institute, addressed the audience as the night’s main speaker. She opened her speech by expressing her enthusiasm for the opportunity to speak, acknowledging the central role of the Pharr EDC Foundation and the city’s leadership in fostering educational opportunities. “I’m thrilled to be here tonight, thanks to the Pharr EDC Foundation and its visionary support from Mayor Hernandez and our city commissioners,” she said.

Cardona briefly shared her journey with the Valley Grande Institute, reflecting on her unexpected but fulfilling 23-year tenure there. “Being part of the Valley Grande Institute has been an unexpected journey, one that I cherish deeply because it allows us to contribute to shaping the future of our students,” she remarked.

She highlighted the community’s collective effort in supporting education and stressed the importance of collaboration. “Education and workforce development are crucial, and tonight, we celebrate the investment in our youth through these scholarships—an investment in our community’s future.”

L-R: Francisco Mendez, Finance PEDC; Karina Lopez, Manager PEDC; Juanita Cavazos, Property Manager PEDC; Victor Perez, President & CEO of PEDC and Chairman of PEDC Foundation; Maribel Garcia, Exec. Assistant PEDC; Lilvette Santos, Econ. Business Dev. Director PEDC, and former PEDC Foundation Director. Photo by Roberto Hugo González

Cardona concluded her remarks by encouraging the students to remember their roots and the support system they have behind them. “As you move forward, remember the community that has supported you. We are excited to see what you will achieve and how you will give back to the places and people that have helped shape you.”

Her speech reflected her personal experience and was a rallying call for continued support and collaboration within the community.

As the ceremony drew to a close, the atmosphere was filled with hope and anticipation. The audience, comprising proud families, supportive community members, and the scholarship recipients, shared in a moment of unity and inspiration. Pérez offered final words of encouragement.

“Tonight, we’ve witnessed the remarkable potential of our youth,” he began, his voice resonating with pride. “These scholarships are more than just financial support; they are evidence of our belief in each student’s ability to make a significant impact. As you enter the next chapter of your lives, remember the community behind you, cheering you on. We eagerly await the day you return to Pharr, bringing your knowledge, skills, and passion to continue the cycle of growth and prosperity.”

Distinguished leaders, family and friends gathered for the 2024 Scholarship Awards Ceremony as the City of Pharr, the Pharr EDC, and the Pharr Economic Development Foundation proudly gave 122 scholarships to the deserving students of Pharr, Texas, and the surrounding PSJA area. Photo by Roberto Hugo González

The 2024 Scholarship Awards Ceremony ended with a standing ovation, leaving everyone inspired and committed to supporting the educational dreams of future generations. It was a celebration of academic excellence community’s shared vision for a brighter future.

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