Senior at The Woodlands Christian Academy receives surprise presentation of $40,000 scholarship

By: Sean K. Thompson
| Published 11/27/2023


THE WOODLANDS, TX – A student at The Woodlands Christian Academy was surprised with a $40,000 scholarship in front of all of her classmates, faculty, staff, and parents. Christiana Marie Camarillo, a senior at the faith-based private college preparatory school, received the award on the first day back from the Thanksgiving break.

The entire student body was called into the on-campus auditorium under the guise of being given a presentation by representatives of CollegeBoard, a nonprofit organization that reaches more than 7 million students a year, helping them navigate the path from high school to college and career. What the students didn’t realize was that the reps in question were on a tour announcing scholarship awards to students who use BigFuture, CollegeBoard’s free, online resource that helps students take the right first step after high school by helping them plan for college, pay for college, and explore careers.

Through the BigFuture program, two $40,000 and hundreds of $500 scholarships – which totaled more than $3 million in 2022 – are awarded each month. Christina was called up in front of the assembly to give her personal account of how easy the program was to use. As she prepared to return to her seat, she was told the good news. At first thinking she had won a $500 scholarship, she was visibly moved when she realized she had received one of the coveted $40,000 scholarships, of which only two were granted nationwide for the month of November 2023.

“I’m just overwhelmed that my college is basically paid for entirely. I’m really excited that it enables me to go wherever I want, which is great,” said Christiana in an exclusive interview with Woodlands Online. “I want to be a computer engineer, and think I’ll go into game development design and working on AI and VR in the computer world.”

When asked about which colleges might receive the fruits of her hard work and scholarship, Christiana replied, “I got accepted into A&M, which is a perfect college for me, but I’m also applying to Cornell and Rice, which are dreams for me.”

As Christiana was handed the large ceremonial check, her parents came up to congratulate her as the entire auditorium rose to its feet to cheer.

“I’m so proud. We were kept in the dark until the last minute. It’s very emotional for me,” said her father, Robert.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her. She’s incredibly industrious; she’s always worked very hard. I give credit to the school for all of the awesome academics that they’ve provided for her,” said Christiana’s mother, Christine.

TWCA High School Principal Stephen Clark said,”It was amazing, the setup for the event and our partnership with CollegeBoard. How integral they are in our kids getting into college. They’re great partners, but for them to do that extra with the scholarships just means the world to us.”

When asked about what kind of student Christiana was, Clark replied, “She’s an incredible young lady. She’s the poster child for The Woodlands Christian Academy, who is proud of the quality of students that we have. She’s very deserving, very hard working, and the scholarship could not have gone to a better person.”

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