Young artist wins scholarships for Hispanic Heritage Month contest entry

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Mauricio Gonzalez, Hispanic Heritage Month Art Contest winner, sitting with his award winning colored-pencil artwork.

A 12-year-old Port Lavaca boy won a $2,000 scholarship from the University of Houston-Victoria, a summer camp scholarship to Victoria College, and will have his colored-pencil artwork featured on posters advertising this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month events as top prize in the annual art contest.

“I was so excited to hear that I won,” said Mauricio Gonzalez, who completed his artwork as a sixth-grader last year at Travis Middle School in Port Lavaca. “I found out when I was at summer camp, and even though I was sore from exercising, I started jumping up and down.”

Gonzalez is the son of Ricardo and Elda Gonzalez, and he topped 39 other art students from Victoria and Port Lavaca to be named the contest winner. Hispanic Heritage Month is held annually from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

The second- and third-place winners will be announced at the Hispanic Heritage Month Art Contest Reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Multi-Purpose Room of the UHV University Center, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The public is invited to attend and view all entries on display in the UHV University Center.

The second-place winner will receive a $1,000 college scholarship, and the third-place contestant will receive a $500 college scholarship. These awards are donated by the Victoria Chamber of Commerce Minority Business Council.

“There was wonderful quality in this year’s entries,” said Josie Rivera, organizer of Hispanic Heritage Month activities and senior program development coordinator for the UHV Letting Education Achieve Dreams initiative. “The judges felt that Mauricio’s work really captured the theme, and the use of color was outstanding.”

The art contest was judged by UHV faculty and staff, including Laurence Rossow, dean of the UHV School of Education & Human Development; education professor Jill Fox; Creative Services Manager Melody Vecera; and graphic designer Cari Laza.

Gonzalez’s drawing of a mariachi singer, titled “Mexico Lindo,” is a close-cropped look at a mariachi singer in traditional dress. The student drew the picture from a photo he took himself at a San Antonio restaurant.

“I like being creative and using my imagination,” said Gonzalez, who also works in clay sculptures and other mediums. “But I still apply it to working from real-life settings. The mariachi singer is a recognizable part of Hispanic heritage.”

Gonzalez’s art teacher at Travis Middle School is Victoria Tijerina. She has helped him set his sights on big dreams in both education and art. He would like to attend UHV for basics, and possibly transfer to Harvard. He also dreams of one day opening his own art gallery.

All contest entries will be on display in the UHV University Center during regular business hours from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. For more information about Hispanic Heritage Month events, contact the LEAD office at 361-570-4893.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Ken Cooke 361-570-4342