AUSTIN – Two Dallas area high school seniors have been chosen as winners in the 2020 Don’t mess with Texas Scholarship Contest. Ximena Coronado, a recent graduate of Garland High School, was awarded a $5,000 college scholarship. She will apply the scholarship toward Environmental Studies at New York University. Caleb Shaw, a recent W.W. Samuell High School graduate, received a $3,000 scholarship. He will apply his winnings toward his studies in interactive simulation and game technology at Richland College in Dallas and later the University of North Texas.
The Don’t mess with Texas Scholarship Contest is presented annually in partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful and recognizes the achievements of Texas high school seniors who demonstrate a leadership role in preventing litter in their schools and communities while building awareness of the Don’t mess with Texas litter-prevention campaign. A total of $13,500 in scholarships was awarded to four high school seniors. The 2020 scholarships were sponsored by iHeartMedia, Buc-ee’s, the Houston Astros Foundation and San Antonio Spurs Sports & Entertainment.
Ximena’s passion for the environment led her to create her school’s first environmental club to educate students on the importance of recycling. To support its mission, the club lobbied the Garland Independent School district to provide recycling bins to teachers at Garland High School. Later, Ximena spearheaded a two-year effort to implement single-stream recycling for all 72 schools in the Garland Independent School District. Passionate about the environment, Ximena can be found speaking to groups across the Dallas area about recycling.
Understanding that a love for the environment begins at a young age, Caleb volunteered his time to teach kindergarten students at Pleasant Grove Elementary School about the importance of keeping Texas litter-free. He shared how picking up trash meant caring for the animals and worked to keep the neighborhoods where they live clean. Caleb’s efforts extended to his high school where he hosted a petition drive to ask students to make a pledge to do their part to keep Texas beautiful. He also planned and planted a Texas-shaped bluebonnet garden at his high school as a campus beautification project.
Don’t mess with Texas has been educating Texans about litter prevention since 1986. The campaign is the signature program for TxDOT’s litter prevention initiatives which include Adopt-a-Highway, a grassroots partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful, and the community outreach and cleanup event, the Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off. For additional information on Don’t mess with Texas, visit Dontmesswithtexas.org.
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