May 23, 2019 500 AM
PRESIDIO – Two outstanding Presidio High School students were awarded cash scholarships for bringing local history to life.
Crystal Camacho and Omar Udave participated in Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) 2018 Student Docent Program, a 23-year-old docent program at Ft. Leaton State Historic Site, and the western entrance to Big Bend Ranch State Park. The program began in 1996 with 12 students who were initially called “living history students.”
Camacho and Udave each received a $500 scholarship award from Compadres del Rancho Grande (CDRG), TPWD’s official friends group for the Big Bend Ranch State Park Complex. CDRG Board members Charlie Angell and Bob Rice present the awards.
Charlie Angell said, “We are proud to recognize Crystal and Omar for their knowledge, enthusiasm and hard work in making history come alive here at Ft Leaton.”
“There is an old saying, ‘if only these walls could speak,’” said Angell. Through the docent program, these two young people have made that happen, and provided visitors and themselves with a unique experience.”
Manuela Cataño, Ft. Leaton Superintendent, explained that students dress in period clothing and demonstrate life on the 19th century Southwestern frontier.
In addition to becoming well versed in local history, students learn about the economic impact of local tourism. They conduct guided tours, as well as learning registration and cash handling skills. Students gain work-place skills to add to their resumes, and are introduced to TPWD career opportunities.
“It brings me such joy when I receive a call from a potential employer asking for a reference on a former student docent who successfully completed the program,” said Cataño.
Camacho has been accepted to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) where she will study nursing.
Udave will pursue a career in Environmental Science at El Paso Community College and UTEP.
They will be featured this summer on the award-winning TP&WD radio show “Passport to Texas” airing on local stations, including KSRU 90.1 FM, KALP 1240 AM and KVLF 92.7 FM, as well as TP&WD podcasts.
Compadres del Rancho Grande is the official Texas Parks and Wildlife Division friends group benefiting Big Bend Ranch State Park Complex. The organization helps meet park needs through fundraising, outreach, advocacy, education, and volunteering.