Camila Valdez was just trying to get ready for a birthday party for her grandma when she answered the door.
When she opened it, she was met by two people wearing Longhorn attire. Valdez just assumed they were there to personally welcome her to the University of Texas.
The staff members brought her a backpack, filled with a notebook, padfolio and a T-shirt. But then they pulled out a big check. She had received a four-year scholarship to UT worth $48,000.
“It was kinda like winning a Maserati,” Valdez said. “I didn’t even know I was going to win it, so when it comes it was a complete shock.”
A senior at Alexander High School in Laredo, she credits her Longhorn sibling for influencing her college decision. Her sister Sofia studies mechanical engineering at UT and they’re very close.
“It just felt very welcoming and the vibe overall was really nice,” Valdez said. “I really love the city.”
A video of the surprise meeting posted on her sister’s Twitter account racked up more than 200 retweets and nearly 1,500 likes.
Valdez said her family members were incredibly supportive. Her siblings knew about the surprise and spent the morning teaching their mom how to record video on her phone.
Her favorite responses to the videos have been the people who wrote that they got emotional watching them.
“It’s so surreal to see people saying that about my video. I’m happy that I was able to share that experience with them,” she said.
In another video, Caroline Enriquez with the Office of Admission, told Valdez she was one of about 35 to 40 people in the state of Texas receiving the scholarship. Valdez said she heard two other people in the Laredo area would be a part of the group.
The scholarship winners announced so far have formed a group chat called “The Lucky Ones.” Valdez said the group added her and they congratulate each other and discuss things like financial aid and where to live at UT.
In addition to ranking in the top 3 percent of her high school class, Valdez also participated in volleyball and extracurricular groups like Health Occupations Students of America, Amnesty International, UIL Accounting, and was the president of her school’s film club.
Her mom knew about the scholarship surprise visit and had told her just the day before “good things are coming.”
“We’re always talking about the future,” Valdez said. “She said ‘the universe will help you out.’ I said ‘hopefully soon.’”
so incredibly grateful and blessed to have been accepted to McCombs Business School and awarded a full tuition scholarship! I’m still so shocked and can’t stop crying happy tears. I can’t wait for what’s to come! Thank you so much🧡🤘🏼 @UTAustin #UT22 #HookEm pic.twitter.com/UjakfuTRoO— camila valdez (@camilavaldezz) January 20, 2018