America in Recovery

Announcing Our First Scholarship Recipient from Baytown!

Oct  28, 2014

Robert E Lee senior awarded new group’s inaugural scholarship

Samantha Rose Gonzales

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 12:00 am

REL senior awarded group's inaugural scholarship By Matt Hollis - Baytown Sun 

Samantha Rose Gonzales sees a bright future for herself. 

She is already a student council member at Robert E. Lee High School, involved with AVID Risk Solutions, Inc., a business manger for the school’s yearbook, a National Hispanic Institution member and wants to get into the business side of the music industry.

Gonzales’ accomplishments caught the eye of her counselors and they helped select her to be the first recipient for the America in Recovery Scholarship. The scholarship is for at-risk high school kids who do not let life’s challenges stop them from achieving success. 

 “I feel like I have actively achieved something,” she said. “It is not every day that an at-risk student achieves something. Because I am at-risk, I am supposed to be the one that fails.”

Gonzales has many faced obstacles in her 17 years, but has been able to meet the challenge each time. She was raised by a single mother who had five other children to feed. She has spent her time striving for a better life for herself as well as her family. 

“I had to grow up quickly,” she said. “I took on responsibility that I shouldn’t have had to take on. When my mother was working, I had to run the house. It was difficult growing up so young. But it opened my eyes.”

Gonzales was able to maintain a 3.98 grade point average while helping her family and holding down a job. It was this and her other accomplishments that led Jennifer Guillory, College and Career counselor at Robert E. Lee High School, and her administrative assistant, Lisa Segura, to choose her for the scholarship. 

“We have a college and career computer lab, so I see her every morning,” Guillory said. “After getting to know her and seeing her work ethic, I felt she was a natural choice.  She is headstrong, an excellent student, personable and focused. I have no doubt she will succeed. I am very excited for her.” 

Guillory also said Gonzales is a dual credit student, taking online courses at Lee College while still a senior student at Robert E. Lee High School. Gonzales also plans to attend either the University of Texas or Baylor University and major in business management. 

Segura said that Gonzales is a well-rounded student and the choice to select her was easy. 

“She has excelled at everything,” Segura said. “She was the perfect candidate to succeed.” 

America in Recovery’s executive director, Judy DuBose, finds it special that a Goose Creek CISD student is the first one chosen for the scholarship. DuBose is a graduate of Baytown schools and frequently gives back to the community. 

“Samantha is a dynamic young lady,” DuBose said. “She is one of the young adults that has formed a strong constitution. She is looking to make life better. I’m really proud to have her a part of our first scholarship group. I look forward to her staying in college and continuing to let us know how she is doing.” 

While DuBose emphasized that while every recipient of the scholarship is a success story, she felt that Samantha’s strong foundation of education will pave the way for future triumphs.

Samantha will be awarded the $2,000 scholarship at the Downtown Aquarium on Thursday, Nov. 20 at the inaugural America in Recovery scholarship banquet. The keynote speaker at this special event will be Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is kicking off the festivities.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the event. DuBose said that anyone who donates a table will have their funds dedicated back into Baytown school programs. 

“We hope to be able to do this for other Baytown children,” DuBose said. 

To donate for a table at the America in Recovery scholarship banquet, call DuBose at 832-656-3008 or email her at

America in Recovery does not accept government money, only private donations. Founder Larry Keast is the owner of Venturetech, a successful oil field equipment-manufacturing firm in Houston.

America in Recovery operates a free website to connect businesses with former offenders looking to get a job instead of a government handout. The charity decided this year to expand the mission, offering scholarships to at-risk high school kids so they won’t ever need a second chance.

For information on how to help America in Recovery, go to


Tribute to the Baytown Sun

© 2015 America in Recovery. All Rights Reserved.
Tax ID#: 32-0120587