Scholarship helps CHS senior pursue dream

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers

A prestigious scholarship and a background in construction has paved the way for Robert Cordova to pursue a civil engineering degree.

Cordova is one of 352 students expected to receive diplomas during Clovis High School’s graduation ceremony today. Cordova is one of 40 students statewide who has been awarded a four-year Daniels Scholarship following an extensive application and interview process.

“I had to write four different types of essays,” said Cordova, who has several family members in the construction business and worked with Lydick Engineers & Surveyors. “I then had a personal interview with a panel of four people and then had to go to interviews in Roswell and Albuquerque.”

He also had to get three letters of recommendation and complete an online profile.

“Robert has been talking about doing this (being an engineer) since he was in third grade,” said his mother, Tracy Cordova, a custodian at Lockwood Elementary School and a 1989 CHS graduate. “This is his dream and now he has the opportunity to do it with this scholarship. I am so proud of him.”

As for Robert Cordova, he said he wants to earn a civil engineering degree for his grandfather, Robert, his uncle Sammy, and for his mother, all of whom have supported him.

“After I get my degree, I want to come back to Clovis,” said Cordova, who has attended Clovis Schools since kindergarten. “I know I will have a job when I come back because Lydick has told me that, and in the future, I may want to start my own business.”

The Daniels program bases scholarship awards on achievement and family income. A first-generation college student, Robert Cordova said his involvement in Engaging Latino Communities in Education program was also a determining factor in his receiving the scholarship.

“I am not afraid to go off to college. I know it will be emotional at first, being on my own, but it will be good emotions that will lead me to better things,” said Robert Cordova, who plans to attend Eastern New Mexico University for a year and then transfer to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

About 47 percent of the 2007 CHS graduates will pursue a four-year degree and another 21 percent have indicated that they plan to pursue two-year degrees, according to CHS senior counselor Kathy Penland.

“I think college is affordable to more students these days,” Penland said. “There are more opportunities than there were 20 or 30 years ago.”