AUSTIN—This fall, Xavier Zamora, a 2013 graduate of Robstown High School, is starting college with the help of a $500 scholarship from the Texas Classroom Teachers Association.

Zamora, who attends Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is among 82 deserving students across the state to receive scholarships totaling $128,500 from the TCTA Scholarship Program, which is funded by the estate of the late Charles and Phyllis Gottlieb.

When establishing the scholarship criteria, TCTA honored Phyllis Gottlieb’s wishes, which were to create a program unlike most others. Rather than looking solely at transcripts and selecting only top academic performers, who often have multiple financial aid sources, TCTA chooses recipients who have faced hardships that make higher education unlikely without help.

Zamora plans to earn an engineering degree with a minor in mathematics. “I feel that utilizing my skills and knowledge to work for a company in my local area will be my way of giving back to my community as my mother has always told me to do,” he wrote in his application.

Robstown High School counselor Russell Blomstedt nominated Zamora. “Many seniors exhibit ‘senioritis’ at this point in high school,” he wrote in his nomination. “Xavier displays the good work ethic that will be demanded of him at the next level.”