Former student once told she wouldn't amount to anything has success

Weslaco East High School Coach Owen

Tom Owens is getting a fake evaluation.

The cross country and track coach from Weslaco East High School has no idea Becky Azuna, a former student turned colleague, is on her way to the very same office to thank him for giving her a chance in life.

Their relationship dates back to the early 90's when Coach Owens first spotted her running abilities on the field.

He insisted she try out for the team, despite any criticism along the way.

"You don't want her," Becky recalled hearing from others. "She's trouble. She's not going to amount to anything. She's not going to graduate. She's not going to go anywhere with her life."

Tom's belief in her is all Becky says she needed to succeed.

She would eventually go on to be a star under Tom's leadership.

She graduated high school with a scholarship and eventually received her degree.

Her goal now is to give other at-risk students in the Weslaco ISD their shot in life.

Nearly two decades after first meeting, Becky finds herself face-to-face with her former coach to Pay it 4Ward.

"I want the whole Valley to know what kind of educator you have been to me," she said to him in the office. "Who knows how I would have ended up, a drop out more than likely. You helped me find a talent that I never knew I had. That helped pay for my education. On behalf of FNB Insurance and

Action 4 News, I want to Pay it 4Ward for everything you have done for me. Here's $400 for all your dedication."

Tom jokes with his boss whether it's OK for him to accept the cash.

"Right now I'm speechless," he said. "I don't know what to say. I'm just so proud of her. We have more kids like this that I hope come back and talk to us again. I'm surprised. I appreciate it. It's an honor and it's an honor to work with all the kids we have here."

Tom's co-workers couldn't be more proud of their coach.

Our Pay it 4Ward partner with FNB Insurance shares why stories like Tom's are important to share.

Karen Gonzalez explains why.

"Here's somebody that can back to say you made a difference in my life because of that one little push," the FNB Insurance Agency spokesperson said. "Imagine if everybody gave somebody a little push? That's why FNB Insurance is proud to be a part of Pay it 4Ward."

Tom urges anyone to look for the kid who may appear lost in life.

A little direction, he says, can go a long way. Click here to join Ryan Wolf TMs Facebook Page

Click here to follow Ryan Wolf on Twitter

Click here to nominate somebody for the Pay it 4Ward prize

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