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TSTC, Pizzeria Team Up to Raise Money for Scholarships

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

Pizzeria When Emmanuel Formacio and his brothers, Alex and Omar, opened the Pizzeria three years ago, the brothers had a vision of giving back to the community. Well it was more than a vision. It was actually written into their business plan.

"We had it in there that at some point we were going to give back," Formacio said. "We come from a small town too and our father was a doctor. He was always giving back to that community and he taught us at a young age that it's important to give back and build a good relationship with the community where you live."

Eleven years ago, Formacio moved to Harlingen after landing a job at Texas State Technical College. And on Wednesday, Formacio and his family showed their appreciation to the college and the community.

The Pizzeria sponsored a scholarship fundraiser entitled "The Pizzeria Cares" in which 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of large pepperoni pizzas between 4-8 p.m. priced at $6.95 would go back to TSTC for scholarship money.

The Pizzeria sold 383 pizzas for a total of $2,880.16, which will all be gifted to TSTC for scholarship money.

TSTC President Cesar Maldonado said the donation and outpouring of community support was humbling and appreciated.

"I want to thank The Formacio family and all the Pizzeria employees for their hard work and giving TSTC and our students this opportunity," Maldonado said. "This donation will open doors to students who may not have had the means to attend college and put them on a path to change their lives and those of their family. These types of partnerships are very important to TSTC and we look forward to how it can grow in the future."

Formacio, who teaches biology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology at TSTC said his family wanted to help promote education in the area they call home now.

"We're in Harlingen because of TSTC," Formacio said. "We wanted to give back to a school because through education we can make this a better city. To be able to do something like this means the world to me and of course to my brothers too. TSTC is the reason why we live and have our families in Harlingen. We are proud to say that we are from Harlingen."

Director for Institutional Advancement Amy Lynch said the college was thrilled with the response from the community and the impact this donation will have on TSTC students.

"When Dr. Formacio approached us about the concept we instantly knew it would be a success because of the family's reputation for hard work and dedication," Lynch said. "The Formacios are a commendable example of the commitment this community has to TSTC Harlingen and its mission. We are very excited to have them as our supporters and we look forward to creating more possibilities for TSTC students."

Word quickly spread about the campaign through social media and on Wednesday pizza lovers showed up in large numbers to support TSTC and The Pizzeria.

Long lines inside the restaurant started forming around 5 p.m. and by 6 p.m. the line was forced outside and snaked down the sidewalk of the building.

For Raymondville native Marco Mungia, the drive to Harlingen was worth supporting education.

"I'm a teacher and everyone in my family are teachers," Mungia said. "A lot of students from Willacy County benefit from TSTC so it's an honor to come and give our support to TSTC and its students.

Formacio's intent was to raise money for scholarships for students at TSTC. But it wasn't his sole motivation for the campaign, which will also include the Harlingen school district and the Marine Military Academy in the future.

Between Monday and Wednesday, Formacio said their Facebook page, which heavily promoted the fundraiser, received 52,292 clicks.

"We wanted to raise money for scholarships and we did, but we also exposed so many people to TSTC through this campaign and that's a good thing," Formacio said.

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