Daija Esparza
Madison Charitable Foundation Forty Acres Scholarship
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2024
San Juan, TX
High School
PSJA North Early College High School

Rebel. Activist. Feminist. Three words used to constrain a forefront leader of the labor rights movement, one who has empowered generations of migrants, including myself. “Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.” As my abuelita repeated those words painted on the side of a building to me in Spanish, they resonated within me.

At a young age, those words spoken by Dolores Huerta, a humble trailblazer who worked alongside Cesar Chavez, impacted me in a way that I couldn’t comprehend yet. That was until one summer my grandmother and I ventured into Mexico to hand out clothes to shelters. Before we left, I was put in charge of reaching out to people and gathering donations so we could take as many clothes as possible-- a learning experience that I’ll never forget. At only eleven years old, the looks of gratitude that I received from the people the day we handed out those clothes sparked something inside of me. Though these acts were only making a small difference, Huerta’s words rang in my ears, for I knew I was changing someone’s world. Ever since, I have given every moment that same kindness and compassion from helping manage my family’s financial problems as I got older to finding ways to stretch our money at the end of the month-- a situation that helped build me into the person I am today and spark my desire for business so that I could help families like mine.

From encouraging others to be active members in our community throughout high school to leading my peers through leadership roles, such as being a student ambassador and my school's National Honor Society (NHS) president. NHS left a big mark on me and allowed me to work extensively with others and become a more innovative leader through our many partnerships, which allowed our club to make the greatest impact possible in our small area. Following the steps of trailblazers, like Dolores Huerta, to put others first for the good of my school and community has allowed me to create opportunities, activists, and God-willingly, through the Business Honors and Forty Acres Scholars Programs, to change the world.

Business Honors

Honors Program
Canfield Business Honors Program

Other Academic Interests
Marketing; Entrepreneurship

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program?
As the search for the right college came around senior year of high school, I had no idea what university was right for me. What I did know is that without the community that I had built and had been given throughout the years, I would not be where I was. The support that I received from my family, friends, and teachers helped me to continuously pursue improvement in myself. I knew that I wanted to be surrounded and inspired by peers who are just as passionate as I am about making change in the world. I knew that I wanted to be able to explore the world without fear of academic or financial setbacks. All these things seemed unlikely to have in one program, my then-self thought, until I came across the Forty Acres Scholars Program. Being able to be a part of this program is truly a blessing, and I cannot wait to become the best version of myself alongside my amazingly talented, passionate, and supportive cohort.