Sometimes those who illuminate the path to goodness on campus are not the professors or top administrators, but people who work quietly at their assigned task day-by-day.
Debbie Sholz, administrative assistant for the Marketing and Communications Department, has now been recognized as one of those people. Sholz, approaching her 15th year with the department, was named a “Bringer of Light” by the campus group Servants of Las Luminarias last month.
“The Bringer of Light” award is given to those whom the Servants of Las Luminarias, an anonymous collection of campus community members, feel are “bringers of the light of the knowledge of goodness to the Texas A&M University-Kingsville campus community.”
Honorees receive a ceramic “luminaria,” a large ornamental candle holder, a lily arrangement, and a framed certificate of recognition.
The certificate stated that Sholz had “selflessly and consistently shone the light of goodness into our midst.”
Sholz received her luminaria when she arrived to work the morning on April 5. She describes the morning as a surprising but emotional experience.
“I was so surprised. I thought that somebody had brought the Easter bunny to the office, because all the lights were off,” Sholz said. “When I saw the candles, I started crying. The award has a lot of meaning behind it, and I feel so much honored to receive it.”
Sholz has been working with the department since it was known as the Public Relations office.
Before arriving at Texas A&M-Kingsville, Sholz worked at the JC Penney in Kingsville.
When the store closed, she found herself as a regular visitor to the TAMUK Human Resources Office in search of a job.
The administrative assistant job, the job position she now holds, started as a temporary job but soon became a permanent.
Her son, Justin, also works in the office.
Scholz and her son enjoy working with the people at the department because of the family-athmosphere that has developed throughout the years.
“We thoroughly enjoy the family-like atmosphere here, whether it is the athletics or work,” Sholz said. “There are no strangers that walk through that door.”
The Las Luminarias group has been anonymously giving out the “Bringer of Light” award since 2003, and not many know too much about them, except that they keep a look out for recipients here on campus. It is regarded as a high honor to receive.
Justin, who graduated from AMK, saw the award first and knew what it would mean to his mom when she would realize she had received the honor.
“Justin was very excited for me. He knew about the award. Him and my husband were both happy and proud of me,” Sholz said.
Sholz and her son, who has cerebral palsy, work together. Justin earned his B.B.A. in Computer Information Systems in the fall of 2006, and later returned to TAMUK in 2011.
The Athletics Department has also become a regular feature in Sholz’s life. Justin started taking weight-training classes and, through the class, met former Javelina football coach Chris Ballard, and started interacting with the campus coaches and athletes. Sholz says she wants to reach out and thank the anonymous group for giving her the award.
“I am very, very thankful that they saw goodness in me, and I appreciate it very much.”
Her advice to other possible recipients is to “always be yourself, and treat everyone as you would like to be treated.”