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Young Scholars’ Achievements

AUSTIN — The Texas Senate commended the achievements of 14 young
scholars Monday, who are gaining valuable firsthand experience working in
the Texas legislature this session.

PHOTO CUTLINE: The Luna Scholars and State Senators after being presented with a
senate resolution in the senate chamber Monday. From Left to Right: Front
Row: Sen. Frank Madla, David Attwood, Sara Gonzalez, Jeanette Tejeda, Emily
Calderon, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Lupe Robles, Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos;
Second Row: Sen. Juan Hinojosa, Vanessa Morales, Celina Moreno, Mario Cruz,
Omar Ochoa, Scott de la Garza, Sarah Saenz and Sen. Rodney Ellis. Third
Row: Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, Micah Rodriguez, Aaron Barrera, Neil Davis, Sen.
Mario Gallegos and Eric Munoz.

State Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and State Sen. Leticia Van de
Putte, D-San Antonio, presented the scholars with Senate Resolution 886 on
the Senate Chamber floor Monday.

“Education is the greatest equalizer our society has,” Sen. Hinojosa
said. “These are young folks who are striving to learn and giving their
commitment and time to serving the public.”

Sen. Hinojosa spoke of the hard work and diligence of the two scholars
interning in his office: Omar Ochoa of Edinburg and Jeanette Tejeda [MA
’03, International Relations ] of San Antonio.

“These two have played important roles in my office in helping out with
the committees and legislation this session,” he said. “I know that they
are going to be highly successful individuals in whatever they choose to
accomplish.”

Micah Rodriguez of Alice, Vanessa Morales of Corpus Christi and Emily
Calderon of McAllen were among the 14 scholars commended for their
achievements during the resolution.

Sen. Judith Zaffarini, D-Laredo, commented on Calderon’s hard work
while interning in her Senate office. The Senator said the young scholar
from McAllen was personally in charge of 22 bills and covering the
International Relations and Trade Committee in the Senate.

“I’m very proud of our scholars this session,” said Sen. Hinojosa.
“They’ve made valuable contributions to the offices they’ve worked in and
learned a great deal about state politics in return.”

The scholars are fellows with the Gregory Luna Memorial Legislative
Scholars and Fellows Program, a nonprofit organization founded in 1993 by
the Hispanic members of the Texas Senate along with other civic leaders.
The program is named in honor of the late Senator Gregory Luna of San
Antonio, a former Chair of the Senate Hispanic Caucus. The program is
designed to give young adults firsthand experience in public policy and the
legislative system.

Other Luna Scholars interning in the Texas Senate this legislative
session are: David Attwood of San Juan, Aaron Barrera of Texas City, Mario
Cruz of Houston, Neil Davis of Houston, Scott de la Garza of San Antonio,
Sara Gonzalez of Rio Grande City, Celina Moreno of San Antonio, and Eric
Munoz of Roma.