The Francisco M. Canseco Family Endowed Scholarship
June 27, 2022
A nun who runs a children’s home in Texas says she is grateful for a family who sponsors a scholarship for two residents a year to attend Culver Summer Schools & Camps, calling it an “extraordinary experience.”
“Culver is a very unique opportunity for these children because it's so beautiful and has so many things that help them to grow in a positive environment in which they learn a lot of things,” said Sister Maria Isidra Valdez, administrator of the Sacred Heart Children’s Center in Laredo, Texas.
The home along the Rio Grande provides a home and support service for boys and girls who cannot live in their family homes for various reasons, including the death of parents, abandonment, or abuse. Sacred Heart usually houses 45 to 60 children, but because of COVID protocols, the number of children living there is down to 16 residents.
Children from Sacred Heart have been attending Culver since 2009 through the Francisco M. Canseco Family Endowed Scholarship, named in honor of a 1925 CMA graduate who died in 1992. He lived most of his life in Laredo and served as chief of staff at Mercy Hospital in Laredo.
His wife, Consuela, started the Canseco Foundation after his death with the goal of helping people from Laredo, particularly in the areas of health care, children, and education.
Their son, Jorge Canseco ’80 N’78, said that before his mother passed away, she wanted to ensure that Culver was included because it was so important to her husband (they had four sons who graduated from CMA).
He said that’s when the family decided to create an endowment to pay for children from Laredo to attend Culver Summer Schools & Camps. He said his father would love that the endowment was helping children at Sacred Heart Children’s Home because he used to give free medical services to orphanages in Laredo.
“He thought education was important for everyone,” he said. “We learn by example, and he was a great example to us all to be helpful to those who are less fortunate than us.”
Valdez said the endowment is a godsend for the children.
“We are very grateful to the Canseco family and to Culver because they go out of the way to make sure the children have everything they need, including insurance and their flights,” she said.
Valdez said she notices a difference in the children when they return to Sacred Heart.
“It opens them to be more sociable, more friendly,” Valdez said. “They also are more disciplined and organized.”
She said while some students don’t like the amount of marching they do at Culver, she appreciates the message it sends.
“Everywhere we go, there's going to be some kind of discipline that we need to follow. It shows them that we (the nuns at Sacred Heart) aren’t the only ones who think discipline is important,” she said.
The students are selected to attend Culver according to a number of factors, including those who are most deserving of the reward and those who would most benefit from the experience, Valdez said.
“We have to see who will be able to do well in a group, play in a group, follow what they’re told to do,” she said. “Then we also look into who would benefit the most and to who it would help in self-esteem and feeling good about themselves that they had a nice experience.”
Valdez said the students are amazed at how lush northern Indiana is. Laredo has a semi-arid climate, receiving only 21 inches of rain a year on average, and the high temperature in August averages 99.5 degrees. She said they enjoy meeting people from many different cultures and all the new experiences Culver offers.
“It’s an extraordinary experience for them, something that they wouldn't be able to do on their own,” she said.