MHS senior beats the odds to graduate, pursue medical career
May 21, 2010 at 12:21 a.m.
Tori Cano looks upon her brother's accomplishments not as a competition, but as a goal set forth.
Richard Cano, a senior at Memorial High School, earned Friday the highest scholarship awarded in the 13th annual "Beat the Odds" scholarship program.
"He's always been my biggest inspiration," Tori, 13, said as she saw her brother receive a scholarship for $2,500 and a surprise additional $2,000 scholarship.
Richard applied for the "Beat the Odds" scholarship that is given annually in memory of Gary and Mary Cox's son, Justin Forrest Cox.
The scholarship is awarded to students who have overcome obstacles in their lives, Mary Cox said.
The senior wrote of overcoming a relocation and of being removed from his mother's care after his sibling died of sudden infant death syndrome.
"I've been through what he's been through. He's the hope I had when I moved up here," said Tori.
Richard found strength in his obstacles. The 18-year-old moved to Victoria less than a year ago after his home in Edinburg was destroyed during Hurricane Dolly.
"It was a cultural shock," said Richard, who added he felt some resentment.
Rachel Clark, his health science level 1 teacher, recalled his junior year as he kept to himself.
"I kind of had to see how everything was and find my spot," said Richard, who began working toward a career in medicine in his sophomore year.
He took a medical terminology course "just for fun," and began his interest in pursuing medicine as a career.
He plans to attend Houston Baptist University to study medicine.
With tears in her eyes, Dawn Simpson looked up as her son received the scholarship award.
"I always knew that he was going to be someone great because he was my rock when he thought I was his rock," said Simpson.
The 18-year-old adjusted to Victoria by becoming president of Health Occupations Students of America and vice president of Interact Club.
Richard thanked his sister, mother and father, who was not able to attend because of an emergency.
Richard's younger brother had a welding accident, which required his father, Alfonso Cano III, to be at the hospital emergency room.
"He's made my high school years entertaining," Richard said of his father.
State Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, also presented scholarships to graduating seniors who have been with the Incentive Scholars program.