Yarian Garcia Vela | Alumna and Member of ACE Texas Alumni Board
“I simply would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for ACE Scholarships”
ACE Scholar, Yarian Garcia Vela, took the stage at ACE Scholarships Houston’s Annual Luncheon to share her journey and the success she has achieved with the help of an ACE Scholarship.
Yarian is a sophomore at the University of Houston, studying business. “One day, I will own my own business. It’s always been a dream of mine,” she explained.
She is also serving on the ACE Texas Alumni Board and enjoys the ability to give back. “When I was approached about being a part of the ACE Alumni Program, I immediately said ‘yes,’ because I just knew I had to give back in some way given the difference that ACE has made in my own life,” Yarian said.
Although Yarian has been able to find an educational alternative that best worked for her learning, her journey did not start on a promising note: “My parents moved us to the United States when I was nine. We had to move because the place where we lived in Mexico is very unsafe.”
Yarian continued, “It was a very abrupt change for me to suddenly move to a new country and leave everything and everyone I knew behind. I had no friends here and I didn’t speak the language well.”
Yarian stated that this change made her go from a bubbly and outgoing young girl to a shy and introverted one.
While Yarian was adapting to her new community and figuring out her plans for the future, her father’s health was failing. “When it came time for me to enroll in high school, I really wanted to attend Saint Pius the X. My friends were all going there, and I knew it would be a great education. Unfortunately, with my father being sick, we couldn’t afford the tuition.”
Yarian decided to take the entrance exam anyway. She was later accepted to Saint Pius with the support her family needed. “The administration told us about ACE Scholarships and encouraged us to apply. To my surprise, I was granted a partial scholarship and I just want to say right now that you all have no idea what it did for me.”
Thanks to our generous supporters and our supportive partner school, Yarian was able to attend the school of her choice, where she was “surrounded by people with strong values and high expectations.”
“At Saint Pius, I was able to find my voice again, gain new confidence and receive a great education. The teachers and administrators really took care of their students.”
During Yarian’s first three years of high school at Saint Pius, she found her passions and friendships and challenged herself in ways she never thought were possible. Although Yarian was on a path to success, financial barriers were preventing her from graduating from a school that had become a second home to her.
“I had three great years of high school, but when it came time for my senior year, our finances were even tighter than before, and I was not going to be able to do my final year in private school. I was crushed. I had come so far and I couldn’t imagine changing schools my senior year.”
Yarian informed her ACE partner school that she would be unable to attend her senior year due to her family’s finances. Saint Pius refused to give up on her and her family.
“The staff refused to give up on me. They made special payment arrangements for us, and then ACE went ahead and renewed our partial scholarship.”
This opportunity allowed Yarian to continue her education where she would be most successful and goal-oriented. She is the first in her family to attend college in America, has grown in her faith and communication skills, and now has a willingness to dream big.
“I can’t tell you how grateful and appreciative I am that donors like you made it possible for someone like me to pursue my dreams. I simply would not be the person I am today without ACE Scholarships.”
Thank you to our generous donors and supporters of our vision that every child has equal access to a quality education. Yarian’s story is just one of the many inspirational stories of how an ACE Scholarship can change a student’s life entirely.
Below you will find the full video of Yarian sharing her incredible and heart-warming story at the ACE Houston Luncheon!