Presentation Associate Scholarship Recipients

Due to the generous support of the Dubuque Presentation associates, four $1,000 scholarships and one $300 scholarship were given to clients of three ministries sponsored by the Sisters of the Presentation: La Luz Centro Cultural in Hampton, Iowa; Hotel Hope in New Orleans, Louisiana; and Presentation Lantern Center in Dubuque, Iowa. The associate scholarships are intended to assist with education, job training, equipment or fees and expenses associated with the immigration process. Congratulations to the 2021 Presentation Associate Scholarship recipients!

Luis Pedreguera
Luis was born in Veracruz, Mexico, and came to the United States as a teenager. He was only able to attend two years of school in Mexico and did not learn to read or write. He married his wife in 2014, and they have two sons, ages five and one. Luis attended classes at La Luz Centro Cultural to learn English, computer skills and how to play the guitar. Sister Carmen Hernandez met Luis when she was director of La Luz and shares, “Luis is a hard worker and made great efforts to better himself so he could be
the best for his family.”

Faith is important to Luis, and he and his wife are involved in the Evangelical Church in Hampton, Iowa. Luis is working with an immigration lawyer to obtain citizenship, but the legal fees are very expensive (over $5,000), so Luis will use the scholarship to help pay the cost. “My hope is to not have to worry about my family’s wellbeing and to help others in any way I can, just as I have been helped,” says Luis. “I would like to take my family to Veracruz to visit my parents and siblings, whom I have not seen in over 15 years. I would also like to have a business to help my family prosper in life. Finally, I would like to educate myself further in all areas. I know that living in the land of opportunities, all of the above are more than possible.”


Constance A. Williams

Currently living in New Orleans, Constance was born and raised in Harvey, Louisiana, and is the mother of a young son. Being a single parent has been a struggle at times, but Constance is a hard worker and determined to build a better life for her son. The workers and volunteers at Hotel Hope have helped Constance feel safe, respected and optimistic about the future. In 2017, Constance created a business selling handmade and consciously-crafted products to support her family. She has worked as an early childhood educator, has taken courses at Xavier University and has always had a passion for helping and healing others. Constance plans to use the scholarship money to continue her education to become a certified doula and help women and their families.

Constance shares, “I am not perfect, but every day I do my best. It has been a long journey for me to get to where I am today, but I am very proud of the person I am and the woman I am becoming. I have so much to give the world, and I am determined to give it my all.”




Juan Velasco
Juan is 31 years old, and Mexico is his birth country. He moved to the United States when he was 11 and graduated in 2008 from Perry High School. He attended college for one year but had to quit due to lack of finances, so he started working construction. One of Juan’s dreams in life was to have a family of his own. In 2012, the dream came true when he married Liliana, and they now have three amazing children: Maxx, age eight; Alia, age five; and Mateo, age three. They like to do outdoor activities as a family.

Juan’s biggest dream is becoming a U.S. Citizen, and he is working with an immigration attorney on the application process. Aimee Lenth, associate director of La Luz Centro Cultural, states, “Juan is generous with his time to us, and in 2020 even drove down to Des Moines with a trailer to pick up a major food donation for our agency’s food pantry. I am honored to assist him with his citizenship paperwork as he strives to achieve this major step, not only for himself, but also as a role model for his children.”



Mohamed Abidi

Mohamed (Mo) is originally from Tunisia, North Africa, and is 34 years old. He came to the United States to be with his wife, whom he has been married to for five years. Mo learned English at the Presentation Lantern Center and is presently studying for his U.S. citizenship. He loves playing soccer, and family is very important to him. Mo works full-time in a factory and has also started a snow removal and lawn care company. Mo shares, “I dream of getting a business degree to help me to expand my business.” Those at the Lantern Center know Mo to be a very kindhearted, responsible, hardworking man.

Looking to the future, Executive Director Megan Ruiz states, “I think if Mo can grow his business, it will be great for the community, too, as he already has two part-time employees, and plans to hire more if business improves and he can afford more equipment for his landscaping and snow removal.”




Diego Mejia Moreno

Diego is a junior at Wahlert High School and his favorite subject is math. He is the son of Julia Moreno and Ramiro Mejia and plays football, wrestles and runs track. He enjoys being outdoors and has maintained a 4.4 GPA throughout high school. Diego attended tutoring sessions with his mother for many years at the Presentation Lantern Center where he learned to speak English. Diego reflects, “My greatest aspiration is to make my parents proud and for them to see that all of their sacrifices have been worth it. I hope to go to college to be an architect or structural engineer, and then be able to give back to my community and all of those who have helped me.”