Five hard-working Lone Star College-CyFair students were rewarded for perseverance with Didwell-Liebling Opportunity Scholarships for the fall 2014 semester.
"Our scholarship students continue to inspire us by their good grades and their perseverance to obtain an education," said Marian Liebling, who along with her husband Scott established this scholarship in 2012 in honor of their parents and family.
"I tell the students that all we ask of them in return, is that they use their education and energies to give back to their community when they are done," said Scott Liebling.
This semester’s recipients are Emilio Bahena, Ibrahim Iqbal, Nga Nguyen, Diego Paz and Reinaldo Rodriguez. Each has their own story of perseverance from overcoming financial needs, language barriers, adapting to a new culture and losing loved ones to being ostracized by family due to beliefs about homosexuality and working three jobs while going to school full time. All are thankful for the scholarship that helps them continue their education toward a successful career.
Bahena is on track to earn an associate degree at LSC-CyFair and transfer to Texas A&M or University of Houston in pursuit of a bachelor's in Business Administration.
“One of the things that I want to do is to show people who go through the same things that I have been through is to never give up because you can reach your dreams as longest you don't stop fighting for it,” said Bahena. “My life hasn't been easy, but I always keep my head up.”
With plans to graduate LSC-CyFair this spring and transfer to University of Texas or Texas A&M, Iqbal is debating between two passions of becoming a psychiatrist or tech giant programmer.
“Education is definitively the most important aspect of my life,” Iqbal said. “I will never give up on achieving a degree, which I am passionate for, regardless of any future obstacles that may present themselves.”
Currently volunteering at school and area hospitals, Nguyen plans to transfer next fall to complete a pre-med program to become a doctor and focus on treatment for those suffering from cancer.
“Differences in language, culture and education system almost knocked me down at the first start,” said Nguyen. “But after everything, I find myself being stronger than ever and confident that I can do anything to achieve my targets.”
Rodriguez is an international student from Venezuela who he said he grew up in a humble home full of values, rules, conscience and love. His sights are set on becoming an industrial engineer and successful business owner after earning an associate degree and transferring from LSC-CyFair.
“Those values will also help me to improve, obtain and be a success one day,” said the 20-year-old. “I have faith and determination so it doesn’t matter how hard it will be.”
Paz, who is from Honduras, received the Didwell-Liebling’s fifth scholarship in memory of a benefactor and friend to education, Patrick Morris.
“I have overcome barriers like Language, assimilation and conflict between my countries culture and the U.S. culture,” said Paz. “I have also fought against the odds faced by an undocumented student.”
While Paz would like to transfer, earn a bachelor’s in history with a minor in philosophy and become a high school teacher, a final career goal is to teach college/university students.