Terry Scholar: Being his high school’s band director taught him leadership


Courtesy of Bryan Arriaga

Chosen from among thousands of applications, Bryan Arriaga, who has decided to major in computer science and minor in business, is one of the lucky students to become a Terry Scholar.

Maria Salette Ontiveros, Contributor

The University of Texas at El Paso is welcoming nine freshman who were selected to receive the Terry Scholarship award this upcoming fallChosen from among thousands of applications, Bryan Arriaga, who has decided to major in computer science and minor in business, is one of the lucky students to become one of UTEP’s Terry Scholars 

According to TerryFoundation.org,  taking into account other scholarships that the student may receive, the foundation provides sufficient assistance to cover tuition, books, fees and reasonable living expenses on campus.  

From Horizon High School, with a history of playing in school band since he was in sixth gradeArriaga became the high school’s band director at the beginning of his junior year. He was the vice-president of his senior generation, meaning he oversaw prom, senior activities, senior dues and everything related to activities seniors had, and the member of the Spanish Honor Society and National Honor Society.  

“Freshman, sophomore and junior year, I was just this average band student, and at my senior year, I became the director of the band,” Arriaga said. “It was a lot of pressure, but being in band taught me you just have to do everything in your life to the best of your ability, and I think that’s something that opened the door for me to be a leader, to be a role model for other people.” 

Becoming the band director at his high school was a huge change for him and showed Arriaga a lot about self-evaluation and doing the right thing not just for him, but for the rest of his team 

“Being in that position is difficult, because you are always being watched, everything you do is being watched,” Arriaga said. “You are the role model to 300 students who rely on you.”  

This year, with Arriaga directing, Horizon High School’s band went to the state championship to San Antonio, Texas. During Arriaga’s sophomore year, the band was state champion and this year they went confidently and sure that they were going to withe state championship again, but they did not. Instead, they landed seventh place. 

I felt the heartbreak of everyone in the band because we were working for months and we felt like all the effort we put in kind of went to waste, but what I told my band after was that it doesn’t matter if we got it or not,” Arriaga said. “What is important is the effort we put into it and as long you feel like you did your best, that’s all that matters. And that was a life lesson that I took, that experience taught me a lot for my life.” 

Arriaga will also form part of UTEP’s band program after auditioning some months ago. 

In the near future, Arriaga sees himself as a businessman, creating a business that people can benefit on in their daily lives 

“The reason why I mixed computer science and business is because I think that technology has an important role and is going to be on demand from now on to many years to come,” Arriaga said. 

When I had my interview for the Terry, I think that it went really, well,” Arriaga said. “I’m grateful that I can call myself a Terry Scholar and a Miner.” 

Due to the situation with the pandemic, Arriaga feels ready to face any circumstance that could come.  

All I can hope for is that everything is close to normal by August but worst-case scenario it is best to adapt to our situation to get best out of our college experience, he said  

Arriaga’s message to all those students who are trying to apply to scholarships and find opportunities is to avoid excuses and take charge to secure their own future 

Maria Salette Ontiveros may be reached at [email protected]