Carter Financial Management has named Jorge Rodriguez Santana the recipient of an $11,500 scholarship to pursue a degree in architecture at Texas A&M University.  

The Dallas-based financial planning firm launched the scholarship program this year to recognize high-achieving local high school students. Candidates grades, community involvement, leadership roles, essay and an interview were all part of the selection process, the firm said.

“I wanted to do this for many years,” said Bill Carter, president of Carter Financial Management. “With the cost of education continually going up, I thought it would be a good way to help young people get an education.”

Carter believes the scholarship program is a reflection of the firm’s commitment to helping clients reach their goals of financial independence through planning and setting goals.

The scholarship started out at $1,500 a year for four years, however several members of the interview panel were so moved by Santana’s story that they personally added to the amount, increasing the scholarship to a total of $11,500, said Carter.

“I had almost lost hope that there would be enough money for me to get into college, and now I am on the way to making my dream come true,” said Santana.

A senior at Emmett J. Conrad High School in Dallas, Santana is not only the first in his family to attend college; he is the first to graduate high school, said Carter.

Santana is also the 2014 class valedictorian.

Santana learned English in school after moving to Dallas from Mexico at the age of 12. He decided early in life to pursue a career as an architect. He remained motivated by visualizing who he wanted to be: a successful architect wearing a construction hat and holding blueprints of a road or building he’d designed.

“I think you have to work for your dreams and apply yourself as much as possible,” said Santana. “The main thing is to keep on going and don’t get down. I would tell other students to apply for scholarships and apply themselves to get what they want out of life.”

The firm also plans a 2015 Carter Financial Management Scholarship program. Information will be posted on their Web site.