Eastwood Academy HS student accepted to 25 universities across nation

Voters in Harris County may want to remember the name Mercedes Sotelo. The Eastwood Academy senior has some serious goals – and clearly likes to have options.

Sotelo, who is a proud lifelong resident of Houston’s East End, has been accepted to 25 colleges across the nation. States with universities with her name on their acceptance lists range from Hawaii to Maine. On top of that, her scholarship offers totaled a whopping $559,000.

The choice wasn’t easy, but Sotelo ultimately chose to stay home, in Texas. In the fall, Sotelo will attend Concordia University in Austin, where she will pursue a degree in Political Science and Government.

“I wanted to make sure I had a lot of choices for college, and I really did want to go out of state,” said Sotelo. “But when it came down to choosing an education, I decided Concordia was right for me.”

Sotelo’s lengthy list of college options came as no surprise to Eastwood Academy Principal Brandi Lira, who praised her senior class president’s leadership, work ethic and involvement in extracurricular activities.

“What sets Mercedes apart from other students is that she is the model for what our faculty continually conveys to our students. And that is, you can have the highest SAT score and the best grades, but colleges want students who are well-rounded and demonstrate an active presence in their school and neighborhood communities,” Lira said. “Mercedes exemplifies this expectation; she is a strong, self-motivated young lady, and we are so proud of her.”

During her four years at Eastwood Academy, Sotelo participated in student council, spending three serving as class president. On top of that, she is the President of the Science National Honor Society, and member of Skills USA and the National Technical Honors Society. Sotelo also coordinates and hosts clothing and toiletry drives for homeless women.

After college, Sotelo plans to return home to Houston, and running for office isn’t out of the question. Sotelo wants to put her education and skills to use as an elected official or government diplomat to ultimately give back to the community in which she grew up.

“I have so much love for my community,” said Sotelo. “Our neighborhood is changing, and I see families who have lived in the same house their entire lives struggling with basic needs. I feel for them, and I want to help them.”