Category Archives: College Readiness

Join in online fun as HISD celebrates May 11-15 as Senior Spirit Week

With the shift to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, HISD seniors have had to adjust to the abrupt interruption of what should be the most memorable year in the course of a student’s academic journey.

Because of this, HISD has designated next week, May 11-15, as Senior Spirit Week to uniquely celebrate the Class of 2020.

Each day will be designated with a different theme, and everyone – whether you’re a Class of 2020 senior or a parent or teacher – is  invited to take part in the daily recognition of our seniors.

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Scarborough valedictorian looking forward to in-person classes at Notre Dame

Benjamin Brown has adjusted to his new online classroom routine but says he would prefer to go back to in-person classes to utilize his “full potential.”

Benjamin wakes up 30 minutes prior to his first virtual class, has breakfast, and logs into the portal where the class will take place. Afterward, he immediately gets started on the work for his dual credit and high school classes.

“One of the two of the main challenges I am experiencing with virtual schooling is waking up on time,” he said. “The second is definitely an increase in the amount of work from my dual credit classes.”

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Milby HS valedictorian looks forward to next chapter

Mariela Banda was looking forward to celebrating the end of her high school years in person with her classmates at Milby High School.

“Being a virtual valedictorian is unfortunate since we will not be able to fully close this chapter of our lives before we continue with the next one,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking not to be able to share the joy of graduation with my class. Instead, we have to worry about the future. Being a virtual valedictorian is both challenging and stressful, but I feel certain my class will continue to move forward.”

Mariela is still reaching out to motivate members of her senior class.

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Virtual town hall offers vital college readiness info for HISD seniors

HISD aired a live virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday, April 28, to assist students pursuing postsecondary education options during the COVID-19 crisis.

The virtual town hall, which aired in English and Spanish, opened with remarks from HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan and featured experts in college admissions, scholarships and financial aid, testing requirements, and enrollment.

Dr. Lathan thanked everyone for their patience during this difficult time, saying, “Our goal is to give you access to knowledgeable individuals who can provide up-to-date information, resources, and answers to any questions you might have.”

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Virtual Student Leadership Program accepting applications from high school students, district alumni

In response to the unique challenges presented by COVID-19, the Houston Independent School District is excited to announce that 100 interns will be hired to tutor students remotely.

The HISD Virtual Student Leadership Program will offer online instruction and lessons to students in need, delivered by student interns. To promote social distancing and properly plan, the focus of HISD’s Summer Student Leadership Program has been shifted from in-person internships within departments to online virtual tutoring services.

In addition to providing high-quality virtual academic instruction, the district remains committed to ensuring that students have access to competitive summer employment opportunities. All students who applied for the Summer Student Leadership Program will be notified of the change and are invited to apply for a paid internship tutoring students virtually.

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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.

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FAFSA priority deadline for Texas students is Jan. 15

Completing your FAFSA is the first step toward getting many different types of financial aid for school, and finishing the FAFSA early is the best way to maximize college-award packages. 

Even though the federal government doesn’t have a firm deadline as to when FAFSA  (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) applications need to be completed, all 50 states do, and for Texas, the priority deadline is  Jan. 15, 2020. 

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Fifth annual Dream Summit draws record crowd as students take steps toward college

Nineteen years to the day that Dr. Jose Luis Zelaya was reunified with his family at the border, hundreds of students and their families watched in awe on Saturday as he achieved what was once thought to be an impossible dream.

A profound silence filled the Hattie Mae White boardroom as the HISD graduate and DREAMer, who migrated to the U.S. from Honduras at the age of 13 after an arduous 45-day journey, was hooded by his mother and father to solidify his doctorate in Urban Education from Texas A&M University.  

“My graduation is happening in this moment because of my support systems, because of the people that believed in me,” said Zelaya, who served as the keynote speaker for HISD’s fifth annual Dream Summit. “There will be times when you won’t have money to buy your next meal, but there will be people that believe in you so much, that out of nowhere they will help you.” 

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Applications for EMERGE open on Nov. 12

Sophomore students who want to explore in-state and out-of-state college options and would like to work with a mentor to create a competitive college application, should apply to be an EMERGE fellow. 

Applications open Tuesday, Nov. 12 and are due on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. 

The application is available at HoustonISD.org/EMERGE

EMERGE empowers and prepares high-performing students from underserved communities to attend and graduate from top colleges and universities across the nation. These institutions offer substantial financial-aid packages to students. 

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Students, teachers prepare for upcoming AP exams

Students, teachers prepare for upcoming AP exams HISD Advanced Placement students are invited to attend the AP Saturday Countdown Academy to help prepare for Advanced Placement exams.

The first of four Countdown Academies will take place at Carnegie Vanguard High School from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 16. Throughout the morning, students will participate in three different review sessions aimed at AP exam preparation, skills, and content.

The event is free, open to all HISD AP students and teachers, and breakfast will be provided. Students should bring a notebook, a pencil, and a laptop. Students should inquire with their school if transportation is provided.

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