Maria Valdovinos learned about the ACE program as a young girl.
"You know, I've been hearing all since fifth grade that I could go to college for free as long as a I kept my grades up. So that's what I did," Valdovinos said.
Valdovinos graduated from Caprock High School in 2009, then went on to earn her bachelor's degree at West Texas A&M.
Now, her story has come full circle as she works with the ACE program at her alma mater.
"I tell them, just keep that eligibility up. Keep your grades up and then ACE will be there to take care of you," she said.
ACE has taken care of thousands of students like Valdovinos since it began nearly two decades ago.
In 2014, as the program celebrates its 20th year, the program hopes to wrap up a $5 million fundraising campaign that will allow it to expand into Tascosa High School.
"We have a story to tell to donors that it is sucessful, and it's very important," Charlotte Rhodes, Vice President of the Amarillo Area Foundation, which runs ACE said.
"They really can go to college without any money out of pocket, and their families don't have to worry about it either," Connie Bradford, ACE program director said.
So far, the campaign has raised more than $3 million, but those behind the campaign are looking to the future.
"It's about energizing the students early on. It's about getting the students who are freshman to make a committment as freshman that they will pursue the goals of this program," Clay Stribling, AAF President said.
And each year, hundreds of students, just like Valdovinos, do just that.
Make a comittment to education, all with the help of ACE.
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