Latexo Students Recognized by National College Board
By Greg Ritchie
LATEXO – Five students from Latexo Independent School District (LISD) high school were recognized recently by the College Board’s National Recognition Program for their high GPA’s and standardized test scores. The program highlights students in rural and small town schools and all applicants must have grade point averages (GPA’s) above 3.5 and have scored in the top 10% of the PSAT (preliminary scholastic aptitude test) testing.
LISD High School Counselor Leah Santa Maria had the privilege of notifying the five of the recognition which will make them stand out on college and scholarship applications. She was proud five of her very own were recognized by the national organization.
“It’s amazing! I love it when our kids get recognized for anything but a national-level recognition like this is something that not only puts them on the map but is also such a great opportunity for these students to highlight themselves on college applications and resumes,” Santa Maria said.
Senior Emma Jones plans to attend Texas A&M after high school to study English and literature and didn’t expect to be singled out for her grades and test scores.
“I was really shocked and excited when I got the email that I had done so well on my PSAT and had gotten the award. That made me really happy,” Jones said. “I think I will probably become a teacher and maybe eventually go into law.”
Natalie Nicol is a senior at Latexo and daughter of The Messenger’s publishers. She spent the summer playing softball and scouting colleges as coaches scouted her.
“I actually didn’t know I was being recognized until Mrs. Santa Maria told me!” Nicol said. “I am very excited as it’s a great way to separate ourselves from other applicants and a great opportunity.”
Nicol is looking to be recruited as a softball player, with some pretty big name schools in her sights.
“I’m talking to Harvard and M.I.T. and either of those two would be absolutely amazing,” Nicol said. “I have a few different offers from schools in the north. I want to play softball and major in business or finance and eventually go to grad school or business school.”
Junior Tilath Asad is hoping to attend University of Texas in Austin with her older brother and become a biology major before going on to being a heart surgeon. She was candid about the personal sacrifice a young student must make to keep those grades high and the test scores at the top of the scale.
“Well, I have no life outside of school and my teachers expect me to be on top of my game all the time,” Asad said. “It’s just dedication, commitment and never stop. When I was in ninth and tenth grade, I got nominated for a lot of academic achievements and awards which plays a role in my dedication because I want to continue to receive those awards and I’m scared that if I don’t try my best, then that reward will be given to somebody else. And my parents are always telling me to do my best and they’re always encouraging me, too.”
Senior Mohammed Asad and older brother to Tilath is working on applications to Rice University, University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M with a look to major in computer programming, computer science or something math related. He said managing time and distractions is the key to success.
“You see all your friends going out and you have to stay home to study for an exam the next day. It’s that dedication that I believe helped all of us win this award,” Asad said. “Every test you have to push yourself, every assignment you have to turn in, you have to check everything two to three times just to make sure you get that ‘100’ you’ve worked so hard for.”
Asad admitted for him, getting started can be the toughest part to finishing.
“I hate to say it, but my procrastination is my biggest challenge,” Asad admitted. “When I know I have an assignment and I know it won’t even take me that long, but I slowly but surely put it off, minute after minute. Sitting down and getting started – I guess that’s the biggest hurdle.”
Junior Tobi Curless is one of the leaders in the Latexo Ag program, juggling her many activities while watching her grades. She hopes to attend Texas A&M to major in animal science with a minor in ag policy and agri-business. Other than ag, Curless is passionate about English and said it takes discipline to keep all the plates spinning at once.
“It has taken lot of learning like how to manage time, because I’m involved with so many things, and time management and just pure dedication to reaching a goal has been my secret to achieving everything,” Curless said. “It was very shocking to me when I found out about this recognition, especially having taking the PSAT as a sophomore. I was very, very proud of myself – I didn’t think I could do that.”
Mr. Asad may have spoken for all dedicated students, everywhere, when he weighed that balance between funner high school days and the tough investment of time now, which will pay off in the future. Such investments by our young people are what take them to the top, both in school and usually, in life.
“I just know in my heart that what I’ve done these past four years will truly pay off. Not just in the long run, but in the short run to get into these colleges. Being ahead of my fellow freshmen in college because I pushed myself so hard to take the most advanced courses in high school will most definitely be worth it,” Asad concluded.
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]