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Students Win JROTC Scholarships

by Tony Vindell/LFN

Thirteen students from five school districts throughout the Rio Grande Valley participated in the 11th annual Way to Happiness Scholarship competition.

The event is hosted by Harlingen Family Dentistry and it awards a total of $7,500 to those who excel themselves in community-oriented projects that incorporate JROTC core values and the 21 precepts from The Way to Happiness, a common sense moral code book written by author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.

JROTC is an acronym for Junior Reserve Officer Training Course.

The top prize went to Xitlalli Zavala, a senior at Harlingen High School who made a presentation about some of the physical and psychological abuses girls are subjected to either from their boyfriends or family members.

“I feel great,” Zavala said. “I wanted to spread awareness about this issue which affects many young girls. They need to speak up.”

She said she was subjected to such abuses from a former boyfriend when she was 13 years old.

She won a $3,000 scholarship and will save the money to attend the University of Texas in Arlington where she will pursue a degree in construction and architecture programs.

Xitilalli Zavala , a senior at Harlingen High School. Photo: Tony Vindell

Zavala said she realizes she is going into a field dominated by males but she wants to prove that females can do as good if not better.

The award competition was judged by a team of community leaders and the awards were given after hearing the presentations from each JROTC student.

Zavala talked about her experience and showed a picture of herself at the time she was humiliated by her former boyfriend.

One of the most interesting aspects of her presentation was the way she expressed herself, using her hands and fists, walked in front of the panel and her eye contact.

Dr. Juan D. Villarreal, HFD owner, has been sponsoring character education programs since 1989. He said the idea behind the scholarship is to incorporate JROTC core values and The Ways to Happiness 21 precepts to instill good moral character values back into our communities.

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