October 02, 2020

WHARTON, TEXAS – Needville High School graduate Jesus Ortiz wants to be an engineer. Thanks to The Wharton County Junior College Foundation, he is well on his way to achieving that goal.

The foundation recently awarded $4,000 scholarships to Ortiz and 11 other graduates from six area school districts: Wharton, Boling, East Bernard, Needville, El Campo and Louise. The purpose of the scholarships is to provide financial assistance for students who might otherwise be unable to afford higher education — students like Ortiz.

Pursuing a college education has been a distant dream for the Needville resident, whose father passed away when he was only three. Ortiz and his brother have been raised in a single-parent household, where at times it’s been difficult just to make ends meet.

“My life hasn’t been the easiest,” he said. “But I don’t mention my past to make people feel sorry for me. I bring it up because my family has become so much stronger from the heartbreaks and tragedies we’ve faced together. It’s really shaped me into the man I am today.”

Ortiz said the foundation’s scholarship will provide him with the assistance he needs to succeed.

“My dream to become an engineer is one step closer to becoming a reality with the help of this scholarship, and I can’t wait to set the example of being the first college graduate from my entire family,” he said.  

WCJC Foundation President Gordon Sorrel said the foundation is dedicated to assisting students with their educational pursuits.

“This is the fourth year we have been able to provide these much needed scholarships to graduates,” Sorrel said. “Anyone in the community who would like to support a local cause that benefits young people should consider a donation to the foundation’s scholarship fund. Any contribution is appreciated.”

Zina Carter, WCJC’s Director of Marketing, Communications and Advancement, said the foundation has provided scholarships for the past four years in order to help students get a jump start on higher education and a rewarding career.  

“These scholarships do more than ease the financial burden to pay for college,” Carter said. “They are also directly tied to placing the students on a path to complete their degree within two years. Depending on their program of choice, upon completion they will be able to either seek employment or transfer to a four-year institution.”

The 2020 scholarship recipients include:

  • Boling High School – Christian Clapp and Cortney Whetstein
  • East Bernard High School – Carah Chilek and Jose Cubias
  • El Campo High School – Isaiah Miller and Jessika Schulze
  • Louise High School – Esmeralda Mendez and Elizabeth Rogers
  • Needville High School – Wyatt Jordan and Jesus Ortiz
  • Wharton High School – Evelyn Gomez and Chloe Villarreal
To qualify for the scholarships, applicants were required to have graduated in 2020 from one of the six schools in the college’s service area. They also had to complete and submit a scholarship application, including an essay. Priority was given to students who demonstrated how a scholarship would enable them to overcome limited resources and financial constraints in order to attend WCJC.
Donations are accepted at any time to support the scholarship initiative. Donations are tax deductible as the foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and may be mailed to:  WCJC Foundation, The Office of Marketing, Communications and Advancement, 911 Boling Highway, Wharton, Texas, 77488. For additional information, call 979-532-6322.

Founded in 1954, the Wharton County Junior College Foundation was created with the mission of raising funds to benefit the college’s academic programs, faculty development and student scholarships. The foundation is a non-profit corporation and is operated by a Board of Directors. A scholarship fund is maintained by the foundation to award scholarships on an annual basis.