Miller Intermediate student Marcus Bebawi poses with the wireless speaker he won as part of a raffle from the Houston Hispanic Forum. Also shown are Lupe Medina, Bebawi's grandmother; Soledad Esquivel, his mother and Miller principal Vanessa Reyes.
Like most other parents, Soledad Esquivel wants to give her children every opportunity to excel in life. That was her intention when she registered her three children for the Houston Hispanic Forum’s 30th Annual Career and Education Day.
Little did Esquivel know that the organization had decided this year to choose two registrants for a grand-prize raffle. Her son, Miller Intermediate eighth-grader Marcus Bebawi, was chosen as a raffle winner.
Bebawi won a wireless speaker system -- and also transportation for 48 of his Miller Intermediate classmates to join him at Career and Education Day on Feb. 13 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
“I didn’t even know that they were giving a prize away this year,” Esquivel said. “A lady from the organization sent me an email to let me know that Marcus won. I had enrolled all of my kids and it was such a surprise.”
Bebawi was one of two winners out of some 2,000 who registered for the event.
“Our mission is to empower and inspire the children of Houston,” Sineria Rosa, program manager for HHF, said. “We show kids what colleges and careers look like in the real world and expose them to the options they have after high school. By giving the students free transportation we are able to reach an even wider audience.”
Marcus and his siblings will be following in his mother’s footsteps by attending this event.
“My dad used to take me to Career and Education Day when I was in school,” Esquivel said. “We went every year when I was in high school. I wanted to continue this for my kids.”
By registering her three children for the conference early, Esquivel is passing on her legacy of college and career readiness to others – something that Vanessa Reyes, Miller Intermediate’s principal, is excited about.
“When we were contacted by the Houston Hispanic Forum, they informed us that Marcus had registered for the event and won a bus trip to transport 48 students to attend with him,” Reyes said.
“This is a unique opportunity for our campus. Our theme this year is ‘College Ready, Career Ready and World Ready,’ and this event fits so perfectly into that. A lot of times students don’t have the opportunity to attend events that focus on their future like this and transportation can definitely be a challenge. We are so thankful for Marcus and the HHF for the chance to attend this event.”
Career and Education Day exposes children, often those in at-risk situations, to various educational and career opportunities and helps families with student aid and other federal documents.
“There is power in choice,” Rosa said. “We really educate students on everything that is open to them and teach them how to get from point A to point B.”
For more information on the Houston Hispanic Forum, visit www.hispanic-forum.org.
Miller Intermediate students Thomas Torres, Jose Sosa, Matthew Acosta, Alberth Diaz, Marcus Bebawi, Jordan Flowers, Jaileen Salinas, Kimberly Dutton and Susan Castro.