Motivational graduate: Former Putegnat student fundraises for school - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Motivational graduate: Former Putegnat student fundraises for school

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Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 12:00 pm

Cesar Mercado, whose efforts to encourage scholarship at Putegnat Elementary have resulted in the school receiving a steady stream of classroom supplies and motivational prizes, says the desire to help underprivileged students at the school is what’s behind the giving.

Every year, Mercado and a group of family members and sponsors fundraise to provide school supplies for Putegnat at the beginning of the year and laptop computers as the top prizes in an essay contest, which this year will announce winners on Nov. 15.

The essay contest is for fifth-graders, but the fourth-graders are invited to the awards ceremony to give them motivation to do their best in the contest next year as fifth-graders.

“I always preach stay in school, study hard, compete in every UIL competition you can so you can graduate from college and get a good job. And I remember last year when I had run out of things to say one of the fourth graders added, ‘so you can have a better life,’” Mercado said last week, adding that the student was right and he will use the comment this year.

Mercado is a former Putegnat student who went on to obtain advanced college degrees and work at Trico Industries in Brownsville. Several years ago, he started the school supply drive and essay contest as a way to give back to the community, and specifically his elementary school.

“At this point in my life, I’ve accomplished quite a bit at work. I am a product of BISD. I’m motivated by helping the kids because they are our future,” Mercado said. “I think the disadvantaged kids need our help. I came from Putegnat. I was poor. I tell the story to friends, to businesses. They know where the money or the donation goes.”

This will be the sixth year for the school supply drive and essay contest. The first year they gave away two laptops. This year there will be five laptops plus gift cards.

Mercado started the contest with the help of family members, including a sister who now lives in North Texas but still grades the essays, and the Brownsville Trailblazers, a 503-c nonprofit organization.

Sponsors include the Del Angel funeral home, CSL Plasma, Trico, WalMart, H-E-B and Rodeo Dental.

glong@brownsvilleherald.com

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