A Class of 2011 Holland High School graduate and Promise Scholar, Teohary Deloera (Teo) studied at Grand Rapids Community College before earning his degree in Exercise Science from Hope College. After graduating from Hope, he was hired by Holland’s Elzinga & Volkers, Inc. and has been able to travel and explore the United States through his work.
Teo is the youngest of four children. When he was three years old, Teo’s family returned to their hometown in Aguascalientes, Mexico. When it came time for him to enter high school, Teo’s family encouraged him to take advantage of the opportunities his American citizenship offered.
At 15, he returned to the United States alone and began attending Holland High School. For the first two years, Teo lived with a cousin of his father who owned a small store in the Holland area. Then, during his junior and senior years he rented a small apartment where he lived on his own, working to support himself, attending school and, whenever possible, playing soccer.
It was through soccer tournaments offered at the Boys and Girls Club that Teo discovered what a support that organization could be for him as he pursued his dream of a high school diploma. At the Boys and Girls Club, Teo took advantage of the tutors and supportive mentors who began to encourage Teo to dream beyond high school. Teo wasn’t immediately convinced; he had never aspired to a college education. His goals were to earn a high school diploma and land a decent job after graduation. However, after learning about the vast job opportunities that a college degree would open up, Teo dared to dream of more.
Still living on his own and supporting himself, Teo attended Grand Rapids Community College picking up the college preparatory classes he needed as well as helpful ESL (English as a Second Language) classes.
While at GRCC, Teo also managed to find time to “give back” by volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, working with the middle school children for whom he had become a role model. Teo was nominated for the Holland/ Zeeland Promise Scholarship by his Upward Bound mentor, John Berry.
“Teo is one of the finest young men I’ve had the opportunity to know and mentor. He is dedicated to his future, stays focused on doing the right things, is considerate, dependable, trustworthy, hard working and a delight to be with,” said Berry. “He has demonstrated his ability to overcome challenges and now sees the many opportunities before him. College was a dream he didn’t dare have. It’s exciting to see such a dream come true.”
The Promise combined with other scholarships from Hope College made Teo’s dream a reality. “I’m deeply grateful for the opportunities the Promise Scholarship made possible,” Teo said. “Thank you to all of the supporters of the Promise for giving me, and the other recipients, the ability to earn an education that would not have been possible without your generosity.”
Originally featured in the Community Foundation’s 2018 Annual Report. While this was written by CFHZ’s Communications Associate Lina Pierson in 2019, we believe that stories of generosity are timeless and always relevant.