HISD seniors have been offered more than $153 million in college scholarships and the total for the class of 2013 is still growing. So far, Westside High School tops the list with student scholarship offers totaling nearly $26 million. Many students have received multiple scholarship offers from a variety of different organizations, community groups, and corporations as well as individual colleges and universities. That includes Barbara Jordan valedictorian Alejandra Ortega who has raked in more than half a million dollars in scholarship offers.
“It’s more than I could have ever imagined,” said Ortega. “I didn’t want money to be a factor for me or my family when determining what college I wanted to attend, so I applied to more than 60 different scholarships since last October.”
Ortega attended Dogan Elementary and McReynolds Middle school where her mother works as a school clerk. She plans to study mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin using money from the UT 40 Acres Scholarship which covers room and board, tuition, books and even a stipend to study abroad.
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Many HISD campuses, like Reagan High School, are celebrating the fact that 100 percent of their senior class applied and were accepted to a two- or four-year university. In addition, many Reagan graduates, like Rosendo Lopez, will be the first in their family to pursue a higher education.
“When I came to this country seven years I did not speak any English,” said Lopez, “The teachers and principals at HISD challenged and pushed me and now I am headed to college. My parents are very proud of me and I am proud of myself.”
Lopez is number four in his graduating class and is headed to the University of Texas at Austin where he plans to become a teacher. He already has college credit under his belt after earning a score of four on the AP English exam he took during his junior year.
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More than 8800 HISD seniors will receive their high school diplomas at 41 different ceremonies throughout the district between Friday, June 7 and
Tuesday, June 11. Click here for a full list of dates and times.
HISD currently has the highest graduation rate and the lowest dropout rate in the history of the district. The district also made its strongest showing ever this year in the prestigious Washington Post High School Challenge. HISD landed 33 high schools on the list of the nation’s top high schools. Only the nation’s top 9 percent of schools make the rankings.
HISD is also nominated for the Broad Prize for Urban Education for the second year in a row. Because of last year’s nomination, nine members of the Class of 2013 received a collective $165,000 in college scholarships. The Class of 2014 is guaranteed a minimum of $150,000 in scholarships and up to $500,000 if HISD takes home the prize this September.