Button, Angie Chen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/17/2011
REPRESENTATIVE BUTTON AND FELLOW STATE LAWMAKERS WELCOME MERCY STREET SPRING BREAK COLLEGE TOUR
(AUSTIN, TX)-Shaking hands with the Governor of Texas is an honor that few students who grow up in West Dallas could ever imagine, but yesterday that is just what 40 teens traveling across Texas with the Mercy Street Spring Break College Tour were able to do. The young people, considered at risk of not going to college, toured the State Capitol Wednesday, March 16, the same day as their visit to Huston-Tillotson University and The University of Texas at Austin.
State Representative Angie Chen Button, Richardson, introduced Governor Rick Perry to the students adjacent to the Capitol Rotunda, and presented the group with a flag that had been flown over the State Capitol Building in their honor.
Governor Perry spoke to the students about how education had expanded his horizons from a small school house in West Texas to traveling across the world as an Air Force pilot following his graduation from Texas A&M University. Perry told the students that he never imagined that his humble roots would lead to the governorship. “Education changed my life just as it will change your life. Isn’t that cool? There’s nothing you can’t do,” said Perry.
Earlier, House lawmakers honored the group when Representative Button introduced the students who were seated in the gallery of the House chamber.
Representative Button shared her own dream as an immigrant who came to America from Taiwan. “I came to this country as a poor college student with funny English and now I have become a State Representative. No matter where you start out you, you have an opportunity to succeed, and education is the key that opens the door to opportunity,” she said. Texas Secretary of State Hope “Esperanza” Andrade drew cheers from the students when she told them that she was the first Latina ever to serve in that role. “Dream it, and with an education it happens. When someone says you can’t do it, don’t believe it! Say I’m from Texas and I can do it,” Andrade told the students. Other lawmakers, Rep. Pete Gallego, Alpine; Rep. Naomi Gonzalez, El Paso; and Rep. Eric Johnson, Dallas, greeted the students.
According to Mercy Street Spring Break College Tour organizers, the experience is meant to help students see that they can achieve the goals they set for themselves, starting with a college education. The teens, ages 14 to 19, are visiting nine universities across Texas as part of an effort organized by the West Dallas based non-profit Mercy Street, which works toward improving the lives of West Dallas young people, and in turn restoring the community. This is the fourth year that Mercy Street has organized the Spring Break College Tour. It has expanded the number of universities and colleges it has visited the past two years, in part because of the support of Albert Huddleston, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Dallas-based Hyperion Resources, and his family as part of their Huddleston Community Service Initiative.
Currently serving her second term in the Texas House of Representatives, Representative Angie Chen Button serves portions of Richardson and Garland in Dallas County.