Skip To Main Content

Logo Image

Amanda Garza-Peña Elementary

Logo Title

PSJA Education Foundation Awards Over $376,000 in Scholarships and Grants

PSJA Education Foundation Awards Over $376,000 in Scholarships and Grants

Nonprofit thanks community for donations in support of Jesus “Jesse” Vela, Jr. 

PHARR – In May 2024, the PSJA Education Foundation awarded scholarships totaling over $376,000 to more than a hundred seniors from Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) to support their college education. 

Established in 2013, the PSJA Education Foundation is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to benefiting PSJA ISD faculty and students.  

"My drive to give back is rooted in investing in the future of our children at PSJA. As a community member and part of the PSJA Education Foundation, I’m grateful for the support I received during high school,” said Foundation President Marlen Lopez. “Now, it's my turn to support our students by contributing to our PSJA community because it's an investment in the next generation." 

The Foundation offers competitive teacher grants and student scholarships annually to assist in funding college tuition and supporting district-wide teacher projects. These opportunities are made possible through sponsorships and donations from community members, local businesses, and district staff via payroll deduction. 

“It feels great to have that help, especially from the Education Foundation, helping me get ready for college,” said recent PSJA Early College High School Graduate Jaime Lopez. “Everybody plays a major role, and everyone is a great big family here at PSJA High.” 

In December 2023, the PSJA Education Foundation surprised 47 PSJA ISD educators with Teacher Mini-Grants totaling over $42,239 for classroom projects.  

Out of 158 Mini-Grant applications received, the Foundation granted awards ranging from $500 to $1,000 to PSJA ISD teachers for innovative classroom projects. Additionally, the PSJA Education Foundation allocated a Literacy Grant of $15,000 to the Library Services Department. The funds support various library initiatives, including the Battle of the Books, Batalla de los Libros, and summer reading programs.   

Despite the celebrations and making the post-secondary dreams come true for many students, this spring was bittersweet for the Foundation with the passing of their President, Jesus “Jesse” Vela, Jr.  

“We thank everyone who donated in his memory to help support this cause that he was so passionate about,” said Marlen Lopez, who was recently elected to serve as PSJA Education Foundation president. “As a Foundation, we will continue the mission of serving our tri-city community, our students, and teachers. Mr. Vela’s legacy and dedication will carry on through our work.” 

The Foundation plans to continue the work and legacy instilled by Jesus “Jesse” Vela, Jr. through its continuing 12th Annual Gala featuring one of the best Selena tribute bands 512 on Thursday, October 3, 2024, at the Bert Ogden Arena. Sponsorships for the annual fundraiser are still available at 


PSJA Scholarships Collegiate
PSJA Scholarships Memorial
PSJA Scholarships Southwest


PSJA Scholarships North