Criseve “Evie” Montez knows a thing or two about hard work and time management. The 7th grader at Rio Hondo Junior High School balances rigorous academic courses with her many extracurricular interests, including playing the flute, serving on her school’s student council, playing volleyball, running cross country and taking an active role as reporter for the Deep River 4-H Club in Cameron County.
“I have always tried to do my best in school and any activity that I participate in,” Montez says. “I try to use my time wisely and be organized so that I get to do as much as possible every day. School, extracurricular activities and being in 4-H have allowed me to learn leadership and citizenship skills for life.”
Her peers and community leaders recognize Montez’s leadership and excellence inside and outside the classroom. She is a recent recipient of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s GROW Award, created by Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples to give recognition for outstanding work to middle and high school students who demonstrate excellence in academic and extracurricular activities.
“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,” Staples says. Montez is ever-humble about the recognition she has received.
“I am thankful for having been selected as a GROW Award recipient,” Montez says. “It is such an incredible honor to receive this award. I’m very thankful to my parents for their support and encouragement in everything that I do. I also would like to acknowledge Deep River 4-H Club manager, Omero Reyes, who passed away this spring. Mr. Reyes helped me to pursue my interests in photography, food and nutrition, and science.”
A Well-Rounded Student
The 13-year-old Rio Hondo native excels in the classroom, having earned a spot on the A honor roll since first grade. Additionally, through 4-H, Montez found a passion for photography that she continues to explore.
Her photos have received first place and best of class awards at county and district contests, and she earned a ribbon at the 2013 State Fair of Texas Junior Photography Contest. She also earned a Best of Show ribbon at the 2014 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Youth Photography Contest.
Montez’s interests extend further to include areas of food and nutrition. She recently participated in the 4-H Food Show and earned Top Chef at the district level.
“I think it is very important to know about nutrition and making the best food choices for healthy eating,” she says.
Montez also is passionate about helping others. She bakes treats for and spends time with elderly neighbors, volunteers for food drives and saves money throughout the year to purchase toys for children at Christmas.
Montez still has several years before she starts college, but she already knows what the future holds. Her goal is to attend Texas A&M University and earn a degree in veterinary science. To help her reach that goal, she recently started the Cameron County 4-H Veterinary Assistant program.
“I want to learn to care for the health of both small and large animals,” Montez says. “Until then, I plan to keep doing all that I’m doing, working hard and really doing as much for others as I can.”