Sam Houston MSTC recognized by Univision at #QuieroAprender rally

High school is one of only four to be highlighted nationwide

HISD’s Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center was honored this week with a visit from Univision and a rally to encourage Latino students to strive for greatness in education. Two students were also recognized during the event, which was made possible by a partnership among Univision,, and #QuieroAprender (#IWantToLearn).

“Those organizations have been focusing on four schools across the nation,” said Sam Houston Principal Rupak Gandhi about #QuieroAprender, “… and how they have turned their campuses around in the past couple of years in terms of improving academic performance and really changing the lives of their students. Sam Houston was chosen as one of the schools, based on our growth in those areas.”

In 2015, Sam Houston met state accountability standards for the first time in two years, and was removed from the “Improvement Required” list. It was also recognized for academic distinction in social studies. The school offers its students eight different certification or licensure programs. Last year’s valedictorian is currently attending Columbia, while the salutatorian is attending Rice University.

The education rally included a student discussion about the importance of education, interviews, and a spoken-word poetry contest entitled “What is the value of education to you?” Two students hand-picked by the principal for their achievements led the onstage discussion along with Satcha Pretto, co-anchor of the morning show Despierta America. One of those students – senior José Piñeda – was chosen by #QuieroAprender for an in-depth interview that will be featured in an upcoming documentary.

“It was a great opportunity to highlight the good of the school.” said Piñeda, who is on the student council and part of a mariachi band. “There are many Hispanic students here who want to make progress and move forward.” Piñeda is in the top five percent of his graduating class and plans to study mechanical engineering at the University of Texas.

“To me, #QuieroAprender is a phenomenal organization, because it really puts the power of education in the student’s hands,” said Gandhi, “and that’s what matters most.”