Westborough student wins scholarship from South Street Diner
By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Like many Westborough teens, Brian Pu Ruiz has enjoyed many delicious meals at the South Street Diner. With its varied menu and generous portions, it’s the perfect place for a hungry young man to whet his appetite. He enjoys dining there so much that he decided to apply for an annual scholarship the diner grants to a graduating Westborough High School (WHS) senior each year. And much to his delight, his eloquent essay was chosen by the diner’s owners, Phyllis Keene and Mark Sullivan, as the 2014 winning entry.
Unlike many of his classmates, Pu Ruiz, 19, did not grow up on a steady diet of pancakes, waffles, burgers or club sandwiches. Rather, as a boy in his native Guatemala, his staples were cream, eggs and chili.
As he explained in his essay, he said he had heard a “buzz” about the diner, and wanted to see for himself what it was like, but still hesitated.
He has lived in Westborough since he was 12, with his parents, Baltazar Pu Chojon and Heidy C. Ruis De Pu, along with his 11-year-old sister, Heidy Amanda Pu Ruiz. As such, it is important to him, Pu Ruiz said, to always ensure he shows respect to the United States, a country he said he loves, as well as honor his native roots.
“I was afraid that trying the food at South Street would change me, make me forget my Hispanic roots,” he wrote.
Instead, he discovered that his waitress was not only extremely friendly but actually spoke to him in Spanish. The rest of the staff was friendly as well, something that he said he had not found in many other establishments.
“I felt at home, like I wasn’t judged or told to be someone else, but just live in the moment,” he wrote.
Pu Ruiz will use his scholarship this fall at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston where he will be studying architecture and design.
He has also started a new business selling bracelets and large handbags that he has sewn himself. The bracelets are made of rope with a nautical-themed closure. The bags, which are 12” x 12” with a 16” handle, feature nautical stripes or prints.
On his website, Pu Ruiz noted that in spite of his parents’ busy schedules, as a landscaper and housekeeper, they always have made time for family visits to destinations such as Cape Cod and Newport.
“Anchors bring calmness to my heart,” he said. “Anchors, sail boats, lighthouses and cool breezes are words I want my customers to picture.”
He plans to use the business to help raise money for Best Buddies, an organization that he has participated in through WHS.
“Someday I would also like to partner with another charity that helps girls in third world countries,” he said. “I’d like to use my talents to help them and make a difference in their lives somehow.”
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