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The Royal Courier

The Royal Courier

The Royal Courier

Royals graduate high school with bright futures ahead

Bilyana Kostadinova

As college begins to near for seniors, four of the school’s students received prestigious academic scholarships, helping them pursue their dreams in their college careers.
“I’m looking forward to expanding my connections within the scholarship and the university itself,” senior Seth Valdez said. “I plan to explore everything and really just find who I am.”
Valdez earned the Posse Foundation Scholarship and is committed to Santa Clara University with a full ride. The Posse scholarship is merit-based and intended for individuals with extraordinary leadership potential. After going through the three step interview process, Valdez was one of the 829 students out of more than 17,000 other seniors to win the grant. Similarly, the other students who received scholarships are also looking forward to their college experiences.
“[I’m excited about] moving to Boston [and] making new friends,” senior Andraye Terell Salazar said. “When I visited The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), I just really clicked with all the people I met there.”
Two students received full-ride scholarships through the QuestBridge Program, including Salazar who is committed to MIT and Gerardo Gomez who is committed to the University of Virginia (UVA). The QuestBridge scholarship was developed for high-achieving students from low-income families, and is highly competitive.
“I like the way that QuestBridge increases the awareness of low income students,” Salazar said. “It helps them get the idea that top colleges like MIT or Stanford can be affordable for students who wouldn’t necessarily think that because of their backgrounds.”
With new opportunities opened up by the scholarship, many students including Salazar and Gomez are able to attend their dream colleges without having to worry about finances.
“I’m thankful because now I don’t have to burden my family with so much debt now that I have a scholarship,” Gomez said. “My family has pushed me ever since I was little and because of them I got into UVA. I’m so thankful for them and they provide everything for me and I have to pay them back.”
With support from people around them including their families, friends, partners, counselors and teachers, these students have successfully earned their scholarships.
“I’d want to thank my wonderful teacher, Ms. Montague,” senior Sriya Datla said. “She really helped me from the beginning. I had her in ninth grade and she’s been my number one supporter ever since then.”
Datla was awarded the Coca-Cola Scholarship after a rewarding, but long, process of essays, applications and interviews. She and 149 other students in the nation earned the scholarship out of the 103,800 people who applied. Like the other awardees, Dalta is also looking forward to pursuing her bright future, as she is attending Brown University and their medical school.
“[Being awarded the scholarship was] just really happy and genuine,” Datla said. “I’m really looking forward to taking advantage of their open curriculum, finding myself, meeting new students, making new friends and traveling across the country.”
All four students are excited to begin their new college careers and to explore the opportunities that their scholarships have opened for them. As they embark on their journeys, they will continue to find success in their new environments.
“The community at UVA is the best I’ve ever seen,” Gomez said. “The actual area is a bit more isolated and way different from California but it’s beautiful and I just can’t wait to go there. It brings about something in me and I’m [excited for] the new changes.

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Kasey Lee
Kasey Lee, Features & Sports Editor
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