HARLINGEN — In what could have been a bigger celebration, Maribel De La Fuente was honored and presented with a Texas flag.

Because of her hard work and involvement with the community as well as education, state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. presented her on Thursday afternoon with an honorary proclamation.

De La Fuente was born and raised in Harlingen but now resides in Pharr.

She was a folklorico dancer at the Gloria G. Canales Mexican Folklore School of Dance and remembers dancing at the state capitol rotunda. 

She was also Assistant Director to Mrs. Gloria G. Canales for Senorita 5 De Mayo Pageant of Harlingen. She assisted her for 16 years with contestants all over the Rio Grande Valley.

De La Fuente created the nonprofit organization Capstone Scholars RGV, a program created for top students seeking scholarships.

De La Fuente said she first came across the idea when meeting with seniors at PSJA High School.

“It is a great honor that the organization is now ‘Capstone Scholars TEXAS’ as we transition to San Antonio and eventually around the whole state of Texas where high school districts in Texas offer the AP Capstone for high rank students,” she said.

“That is when Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. got wind of what I had done with this organization and gala that was very successful right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit,” De La Fuente said.

She also created a program called “Adopt a Capstone Senior” to provide those in need of supplies for college who were helped by the community.

“I would like to thank God for every blessing he has bestowed upon me but also Mrs. Gloria G. Canales, my director, mentor and second mom,” she said.

“She not only taught me to be a strong woman but to appreciate the Mexican culture and to never give up,” De La Fuente said.

Lucio presented her with a Texas flag and an honorary proclamation in his office in Brownsville.

“People need role models like you to emulate,” he said.

“I come from a family of teachers,” Lucio said.

The proclamation says the Texas Senate commends her on her efforts for educational resources.

“We are very proud. I don’t use the word exemplary just like that, only if you deserve it,” he said.