Longhorns vs. Aggies: Alumni join forces in waiter challenge to raise scholarship funds - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Longhorns vs. Aggies: Alumni join forces in waiter challenge to raise scholarship funds

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Posted: Monday, December 9, 2019 11:15 am

Rio Grande Valley alumni waiters from Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin teamed up Thursday evening to raise scholarship funds for incoming Valley freshmen at Texas’ two flagship universities.

By the time they were done rival waiters representing the two schools had raised what is expected to be more than $60,000 in scholarship funds.

The Longhorns vs. Aggies Waiter Challenge was last held in 2011 but organizers said this year’s event was the most successful so far. The challenge started in 1999 when alumni from the two schools were reminiscing about their college days over lunch and hit upon the idea.

Waiters representing A&M and UT worked for tips at an informal dinner hosted by the International Bank of Commerce. It didn’t hurt that UT Regent Dr. Nolan Perez and A&M Regent Mike Hernandez both were present and each gave a $10,000 donation. UT System Chancelor James Milliken also attended the event.

Shanti Isrami, who just graduated from A&M and is a Los Fresnos High School graduate, took time out from waiting tables to share her thoughts about the event.

She said contrary to people’s perceptions about collegiate fundraising and multi-millionaire donors, most donors are ordinary people who have the saving habit and donate to good causes.

“Going to college will change your life. You meet people from all over the world. They sharpen you and you sharpen them,” she said.

Rosemary Martinez, Isrami’s fourth grade teacher and a 2001 UT graduate who is the assistant principal at Olmito Elementary, helped with UT’s silent auction at the event.

“I was once one of those kids that needed scholarship money and I know how much it can help, especially during your first year of college,” she said.

Michael Moreno, a 1989 UT graduate and member of the Texas Exes Brownsville chapter, said he was glad alumni from the two schools brought the waiter challenge back.

“It’s refreshing to have this event again,” he said. “It brings family, alumni and community members together for a common cause. It reignites the spirit. There’s a tight-knit tradition of cooperation among generations of alumni. There was a lot of coordination and a tremendous effort on both sides.

glong@brownsvilleherald.com

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