Michael Perez, a 2002 graduate from Dublin High School, is an engineering student at Ranger College and was one of 25 students who received a scholarship covering all tuition, fees and books through an associate’s degree or certification program.

In a private-public partnership, Ranger College Erath County Center joined forces with Catholic Charities of Fort Worth to offer the scholarship program.

Michael is one of six children who learned incredible work ethic from his parents. After spending the last 15 years working in jobs such as carpentry and in the oilfield, Michael knew it was time to pursue his lifelong dream of engineering.

As the second oldest in his family, Michael wants to be a good example to his sisters, especially the youngest who is still in high school.

“My sisters are so proud of me for going back to school, and my mother is my biggest supporter,” Perez said. “I prayed to God for a better life, but I was worried because college can be expensive. I just decided to stop at Ranger College one day this summer to see what it would take to go to school. I found out about the scholarship, and that really started the ball rolling. When I found out I received the scholarship, I knew my prayers had been answered.”

Michael credits his teachers at Dublin Elementary School who pushed him to do his best.

“Mrs. Lemons was that special teacher for me,” Perez said. “She listened and challenged me to be a good student.”

Michael is now a full-time pre-engineering student at Ranger College Erath Center.

When asked why he decided to go back to school, Michael said it all comes back to family.

“I want a better life for my future children and family is the most important thing to me,” he said.