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Educational Opportunity Center Honors Fall 2019 EOC Overcoming Barriers Scholarship Recipients

EOC scholarship committee
Overcoming Barriers Scholarship Committee pictured with scholarship recipients

by Tenequa Martin, EOC Educational Specialist
Featured in the Summer 2019 EOC Newsletter

This summer, the TC Educational Opportunity Center awarded its Fall 2019 EOC Overcoming Barriers scholarship to three students: Jaylon McIntyre, Juan Riley, and Mason Jones.

To qualify for the EOC Overcoming Barriers Scholarship, applicants must be a present or past EOC participant, a high school senior or adult learner, have maintained at least a 2.5 GPA, and submit a 250-word essay. Finalists participate in an interview with the scholarship committee. The scholarship is a one-time award valued at $500 and assists recipients with their fall expenses. Students interested in applying for the EOC Overcoming Barriers Scholarship can pick up information from the Educational Opportunity Center located in the Office of Enrollment Services at Texarkana College. The application for Spring 2020 will be open in September.

The scholarship committee included Nicole Raley, Mortgage President at Farmer’s Bank & Trust; Juan Bustamante, General Manager at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop; Lance Whisenant, Coordinator of Student Support Services at Texarkana College; Suzy Irwin, Director of Institutional Advancement & Public Relations at Texarkana College; and Chaddrick Moore, EOC Coordinator.

2019 EOC Overcoming Barriers Scholarship Recipients:


Jaylon McIntyre is a 2019 graduate of Texarkana College. Jaylon graduated from Texarkana College with his associate’s degree in business administration. Jaylon has been accepted into Texas A&M University at Commerce where he plans to attend this fall and begin pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Business. Jaylon’s goal is to become an entrepreneur where he will have the opportunity to create jobs and provide help to others in their times of need.
Juan Riley
Juan Riley is a second-semester Culinary Arts student at Texarkana College. Upon completion of his Culinary Arts certificate in December, Juan intends to pursue his associate’s degree. Juan’s goal is to become  a business owner where he will be able to give back to the community, feed the less fortunate, and provide jobs to others transitioning out of homelessness. Mr. Riley was named a 2019 Burnside Scholar by the Texas Community College Teachers Association.
Mason Jones
Mason Jones is a 2019 graduate of Texas High School. In the fall Mason will be attending Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas where he has plans to major in engineering. Upon graduating from college Mason plans to become a biomedical engineer where he will have the opportunity to work to advance prosthetics by designing and developing improvements to help the lives of patients. Mason has also been awarded the Presidential Scholarship at Texas Southern University, the Michael Dale Johnson Scholarship and the Fannie Mae Collier Scholarship.

At an award ceremony for scholarship recipients, guest speaker Juan Bustamante spoke to students about his educational journey. Juan immigrated to the United States at the age of 15, leaving behind his mother and his siblings. Juan described arriving at his new school full of excitement only to experience one of the worst days of his life.

“Imagine getting to the classroom and the only thing you understand is your name,” he said.

Through perseverance and hard work, Juan learned English and graduated high school in 2006. Four years later, he earned his associate degree from Texarkana College. He then went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Texas A&M University in Texarkana in 2013. Mr. Bustamante has gone on to be a very successful restaurant manager and will soon earn his second bachelor’s degree in accounting.

“Please keep going and fight for your dream,” he said.

The EOC Overcoming Barriers Scholarship is made possible by donations from community partners and local businesses. If you would like to donate to the EOC Overcoming Barriers Scholarship Fund please contact EOC Specialist Millie Serrano at 903-823- 3272.


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