Category Archives: College Readiness

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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Fifth annual Dream Summit planned for Dec. 7

Event to help students apply for college, financial aid 

College Readiness and Multilingual Programs will be hosting the fifth annual Dream Summit to assist students with college applications and the financial aid process on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St., Houston 77092. 

High school students and their families are encouraged to attend the free event. Students should contact their campus college-access coordinator, counselor, or college and career readiness advisor regarding transportation. Five seniors will have a chance to win a $500 scholarship. 

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10 reasons why students should submit their FAFSA or TASFA today

Completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and TASFA (Texas Application for State Financial Aid) is the first step toward receiving the various types of financial aid for school, and finishing your FAFSA/TASFA early is the best way to maximize college-award packages.  

But how much do you know about these financial aid applications? Here are 10 reasons why students should submit their FAFSA ASAP! For info on TASFA, see below. 

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