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Two Calexico women receive opportunity awards

February 20, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Two women working to better themselves were helped by Calexico's Soroptimist International chapter Tuesday.

The Calexico women, Socorro Van Borstel-Cital and Guadalupe Murguia, were given $500 women's opportunity awards and applauded by chapter members at a lunchtime gathering at the Hometown Buffet here.

Soroptimist Club vice president Diana Moreno-Inman said the women now will be eligible to win regional-level awards.

Each year, one first-place winner receives $5,000 and two second-place finishers receive $3,000 in each of the Soroptimist's 29 regions. The winner of the regional award then becomes a candidate for one of three $10,000 finalist awards.

Club president Rowena Carrillo said each award winner had to write an essay and provide biographical information to Soroptimist committee members.


For Van Borstel-Cital, the award was especially sweet because she had applied twice previously.

The San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus student said, "I persevered and this time I got it. I never gave up."

Van Borstel-Cital is a year from earning her teaching credential. Ten years ago she didn't even speak English. Twelve years ago she was living in Mexicali working as a secretary.

"I took (English as a second language) classes at Imperial Valley College," she said.

In addition to her work toward a teaching credential, she is aiming for a master's degree in American literature. Her favorite novelist is magic realist author Isabella Allende of "House of Spirits" fame.

For Van Borstel-Cital, the novel is significant because the heroine doesn't let the terrible circumstances of her life keep her down.

The second award-winner, Murguia, could relate to Alba, the heroine of "House of Spirits." The Calexico native has dealt with economic barriers all her life and now juggles single-motherhood with school work.

She's majoring in psychology at SDSU-IV after receiving her associate's degree from IVC.

"I chose psychology because I thought it was interesting and I thought it would help me with my own life," she said.

She said she has learned to cope with stress and deal with aggressive people.

"I know I can't change them but I can change how they affect me," she said.

After the award presentations, the Soroptimists listened to Walter Colace of New Creations describe his faith-based drug treatment programs and shelters.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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