Pictured: (back row) Alice Optimist Club President Rex Hammock, Field Operations Supervisor Jaime Macias and Acting Patrol Agent in Charge Tim McCants; (front) Alice High School Nominating teacher Judy Holmgreen, Rebecca Morales, September Border Patrol Regional Student of the Month Donella Delgado, her sister Adela Delgado and District 35 State Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles. Photo by MAURICIO JULIAN CUELLAR JR.

AHS senior is ranked 8th in her class

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Alice High School senior Donella Delgado was selected as September's Regional Student of the Month by the United States Border Patrol, Freer Station, Laredo Sector.

Donella is an outstanding academic student, who is currently ranked eighth in her class. Donella participates in Student Council, National Honors Society, Interact and Spanish Club. She is also president of the Alice Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

Her nominating instructor, Judy Holmgreen, wrote to the Border Patrol that Donella works very hard to earn good grades.

"But more important than that, Donella knows the value of volunteering," Holmgreen said.

For Donella, much of her ethics, optimism and determination was set on course by her older sister, Adela.

Since a young age, she has always wanted to be just like her sister. Adela always encouraged her with confidence, Donella said in her essay. She admires her strength, perseverance and aspiration.

As part of her honor, Donella received several compliments and a gift card from Alice Optimist Club President Rex Hammock.

"The goal of the Optimist Club is to support the youth of our community, and recognize these youths for their accomplishments," Hammock said.

"The youth of today represent the future of the community."

State Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles was also there to congratulate Donella and present her with a certificate from the State of Texas and the State House of Representatives. Toureilles also passed on a lesson to the juniors and seniors in the auditorium Tuesday. Her parents always stressed the importance of education and said that no matter what life takes from you, your job, your family, "no one can ever take that degree away from you," Toureilles said.

Pete Trevino from the IBC Bank in Freer was not able to make the event, but Border Patrol Agents presented Donella with a gift card from him as well.

Acting Patrol Agent in Charge Tim McCants and Field Operations Supervisor Jaime Macias also presented Donella with a plaque to honor her accomplishments and her commitment to stay drug free.

Delgado had a few words to say to her fellow students.

"Doing drugs is not the solution to any problem," Donella said. "In reality, drugs are the catalysts to many other problems, including mind altering affects, kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes and liver disease."

She said taking drugs also makes it harder to think clearly and make rational decisions.

This can result in self-humiliation and even lead to the harm of other innocent people, she said.

"I have seen the effects of alcoholism and experienced the violence that results from drug use," Donella said.

"But I have also seen my mother, the strong person who had the courage and determination to take my sister and I out of that situation and lifestyle."

She advised the other students not to give in to peer pressure.

"Be confident," Donella said, "be assertive about who you really are.

"Take the step of being different, being unique, being a person filled with positive potential."