31st Annual Twin Cities Educational Scholarships


Twelve students received scholarships from Twin Cities Educational Scholarship (TCES), Inc in Sterling’s Latin American Social Center on Sunday, June 22. That was the easy part; the hard part was obtaining the funds for the scholarships. John Espinoza, president of TCES said the parents have to sign a commitment sheet to help for twenty hours at fundraisers. If the parents have 2 or more winners, 30 hours are required.

Jamie Rodriguez, a senior this fall at Northern Illinois University is studying family and individual development with teacher certification. She’s hoping to be a family and consumer science teacher in high school, after she gets her master’s degree. This is her fourth year receiving the award, “I feel very honored, it’s an amazing group, amazing people in charge of it. I’m very honored, to receive it every year,” Rodriguez said.

Her advice for the youth is to “just stick with it, I had a rough first semester in college and I now have a 4.0 GPA, you need a college degree in the world we live in now, so don’t give up,” Rodriguez said.

The process is based strictly on merits, the names are taken and then numbered where Sauk Valley Community College looks at the applications and decides the recipients. “We’re lucky in that state representative Jerry Mitchell gets two, four-year endowments. He splits it up into 8, 1-year scholarships to offer to people. We call it the Myron Olson Memorial Scholarship, a past politician, and it’s for any state school in Illinois,” Juan Espinoza said.


“Earlier in history of TCES we had to decide who would get the scholarship. It’s always one or two bright students getting all the scholarships, they don’t really need ours. The brightest ones might get one from the representative,” he said.

Espinoza said that the process is the same every year. “During the year, you’re struggling to raise funds, scrambling for funds, frankly each year it’s year gotten tougher. We have to come out with ideas for fundraisers. We’re raising funds for 3 weeks on Wednesdays at Central Park in Sterling selling tacos, hot dogs, and nachos,” he said.

Luis Moreno, dean of Student Services at Sauk Valley Community College and who grew up in Silvis, was the main speaker. “Moreno, a lot of things he said I nodded and agreed with. How he grew up on the wrong side of tracks, didn’t get much encouragement at the beginning, I was literally on the wrong side of the tracks and look at me now, 35 years. I have more time now, it’s rewarding. Troublesome at times but we reach a goal and it’s worth it. The kids become lawyers, doctors, politicians, schoolteachers, and I like to think way back when, we made a difference,” Espinoza said on Moreno’s speech.


John Espinoza is called John because the person who wrote his birth certificate couldn’t spell Juan. He said things are changing even in the places you least expect.  “The pictures are changing gradually, you can see it in the (food) markets, it was white bread, mayonnaise, now it’s different,” he said.

TCES 2008-2009 Scholarship

Ashley Babin
Helena Babin
Javier Babin
Sade Banda
Samuel Gallardo
Daniela Lemus
Austin Morgan
Edilia Rivera
Jamie Rodriguez

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