Adelfa

Bio

Adelfa Botello Callejo was a prolific supporter of educational opportunities for all children, in particularly, Hispanic children. Adelfa attended segregated schools in Millet Texas and graduated at the top of her high school class. Perpetually preaching the power of education she never missed a day of school from first grade through high school graduation. Adelfa Callejo was the first Hispanic female to graduate from the SMU School of Law. To underscore her depth of commitment to education she and her husband, Bill Callejo, donated 1 million dollars (2004) to endow, the Chairmanship of the Adelfa Botello Callejo Leadership and Latino Studies at the SMU Deadman School of Law. Professor Nathan Cortez is the endowed chair.

Her unswerving commitment to education is punctuated by the fact that she graduated from SMU and the SMU Deadman School of Law holding a full time job in the day and attending night school for 10 years.

For decades this tireless advocate of the defenseless gave numerous speeches to tens of thousands of students addressing the relevance of their securing undergraduate and graduate degrees- especially law degrees. For Adelfa constantly preached that: “Education is the Great Equalizer” – a quote coined by Judge John Creuzot, former State District Judge, Criminal District Court 4, Dallas County.

Throughout the course of her life, she constantly stated “Education is Freedom,” and in her last speech given on April 12, 2013 to the audience at the elementary school named in her honor – Adelfa Botello Callejo Elementary School – she vigorously declared, “It is through education that we are truly set free, and, it is only through education that we shall make this world a better place than we found it for education is the Great Equalizer. I have spent my entire life on this earth promoting the inherent value of knowledge, the unobstructed use of our imaginations and the development of proficient leadership as we run the course of the 21st century. And, I want you to know that I shall never rest nor waver from that commitment.” Subsequent to brain surgery to remove two cancerous tumors, she raised herself from her wheel chair and standing before this large school audience she declared these statements to be self-evident even on her journey to passing. Approximately 9 months later, she died on January 25, 2014.

Adelfa’s extraordinary support of education, buttressed by her husband William F. Callejo, who himself was an attorney, engineer, architect, and real estate broker, is ostensible in the fact that she awarded academic scholarships through the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Mexican American Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association, Hispanic Law Foundation, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, various Dallas County LULAC chapters, Paul Quinn College, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Educational Fund, numerous individual students of DISD and similar academic institutions, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and countless other organizations.

Adelfa Callejo, forever the advocate of learning, was deeply involved with DISD leadership and its board trustees for decades in order to develop curriculum for access to bilingual education and higher learning. This brilliant woman, who as a child picked cotton to support her family, arduously fought to improve education for Hispanic children. This extraordinary soul lived by the quote, “Where there is no way, I will make a way.” Adelfa Callejo, tireless champion of her beloved Hispanic community and its DREAMERS, was honorably recognized by the DISD in naming a school in her honor in 2011– The Adelfa Botello Callejo Elementary School.

Subsequent to her passing, the University of North Texas School of Law developed and implemented an academic concept titled Texas Legal Legends. This student endeavor was based on tremendous background research of each of the honorees and it paid tribute to a small handful of Texas’ most prolific attorneys and judges. Mrs. Callejo was one of the Legends the Law School honored for her advocacy of education and Civil Rights for humanity. Today, Mrs. Callejo is one of only 12 lawyers on the Texas Bar Association’s Legal Legends list.