AUSTIN, TX — Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today honored Criseve Montez, a seventh grader from Rio Hondo Junior High School in Rio Hondo, Texas, as the winner of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s monthly GROW award. The award Gives Recognition for Outstanding Work to middle and high school students who demonstrate leadership and excellence inside and outside the classroom.
“I congratulate Criseve Montez for earning the GROW award,” Commissioner Staples said. “The future of our great state rests in the hands of students like Evie who embody the character and work ethic that will continue to keep Texas at the forefront of today’s competitive global economy.”
Criseve, who goes by Evie, was chosen for demonstrating leadership in her school activities, as well as her commitment to community service. She excels in the classroom, earning the all ‘A’ honor roll since first grade. She is active in student council, plays the flute in her school’s band, participates in University Interscholastic League (UIL) competitions and plays volleyball.
Additionally, Evie is a member of the local 4-H club and serves as the club reporter and county delegate. She also is a part of the Cameron County 4-H Cooperative Extension Program Youth Advisory Board, which helps address issues and needs of youth development.
Through 4-H, Evie has showcased her photography skills, including receiving first place and Best of Class awards at county and district contests. She earned a ribbon at the 2013 State Fair of Texas Junior Photography contest.
Her interest in food and nutrition helped her earn a first place ribbon at the local 4-H food show contest. Evie also won first place for her science experiment in the Science, Engineering & Technology Display Board at the 2013 Texas 4-H Roundup.
“Evie Montez is an exemplary seventh grade student at Rio Hondo Junior High,” said Emma Garcia who serves as an elder at Evie’s church. “I admire Evie for being other-focused instead of self-focused. She always displays good character and is passionate about helping others. I have known Evie since she was a young child and have seen her grow to be a kind and compassionate individual.”
Evie shares her passion for helping others by baking treats and spending time with elderly neighbors, and volunteering for food drives, shareable wearable clothing collections and church rummage sales. She even donates her personal savings to purchase toys for children at Christmas. In the past five years, she has contributed hundreds of toys that include dolls, board games and stuffed animals to help make Christmas special for many children.
"I am excited and honored to receive the GROW Award and would like to thank the committee for selecting me,” Evie said. “I am always happy to help others in any way I can."
Evie is interested in pursuing a career as a veterinarian specializing in large animals. Her goal is to attend Texas A&M University and earn a degree in veterinary science. For more on Evie’s accomplishments, click here.
Commissioner Staples established the GROW award to celebrate outstanding student leaders who demonstrate excellence in either their academic or extracurricular activities.
To nominate a promising middle or high school student, visit the TDA website at TexasAgriculture.gov. One GROW award winner is chosen monthly. Nominations for next month’s award are due Jan. 1, 2014.