Nono grew up in Alice, a small town in South Texas. He graduated from the local high school in 1975 and married soon after. By 1981, Nono was supporting a family of four; it seemed that any hopes of going to college were replaced by the realities of providing for a family.
Still, Nono never stopped instilling in his children the importance of learning and higher education. As a dad, he read to them religiously and made up amazing fairy tales complete with elaborate characters. His kids’ favorite was his version of The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy and the gang were Mexican-American. Those homies cruised the yellow brick road in a ’57 Chevy! Nono always kept a box of books around that included anything from 'King to Crichton' to old astronomy texts – he simply loved to learn. He was also known to, despite his kids’ groans, crank up 70’s rock on their drives to school and to motivate them with one of his famous quotes. “Do it to it, kids! Do your best today!” “Hey, I only have one gear, and it’s high!”
Life took a lot of difficult turns and, by the mid-'90s, Nono found himself as a single father of three teens. Through tenacity, Nono would complete an associate degree in sociology from Coastal Bend College. Although a wrench monkey by trade, he worked for Alice ISD as a substitute teacher.
As an educator, Nono cultivated bonds and worked with students at the Alternative Learning Center. He also worked at a local home for adults with mental illness and intellectual disabilities. He took great joy in his work, especially when several of his clients participated in the local Special Olympics.
Nono succumbed to cancer in 2019. In a letter he left for his grandchildren, he reminded them to seek an education and to, “Love with all you have.”
We’re proud to award this year’s scholarship in his name and hope you’ll consider donating today.