May 18, 2001

Sophia Simone Castelo

Hispanic Heritage Youth Award Winner for Excellence in Mathematics

ExxonMobil is pleased to have the opportunity to introduce you to Sophia Castelo, a high school senior and honor student at Clairemont High School. Sophia is the recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Youth Award for Excellence in Mathematics in the greater San Diego region.

Sophia Simone Castelo pictured with ExxonMobil representative Paul Urbina.

Sophia Castelo's relationship to the study of mathematics is a classic example of what it means to confront an obstacle and overcome it through excellence. Several years ago, Sophia would have stated that math was her worst subject area. Because she was raised in a family with an agricultural background that placed a high value on hard work, she was determined to meet the math challenge head on.

She took extra courses during her summer vacations and throughout the school year — eventually enrolling in accelerated courses at Clairemont High School as well as night classes at San Diego Community College. This enabled her to progress beyond geometry, trigonometry, and precalculus to calculus and analytical geometry. As a result, she received the AP Scholar Award, the Rensselaer Math and Science Medal, and Phi Beta Kappa Book Award.

In addition to her academic subjects, she is an enthusiastic soccer player — the most valuable player of her team (MVP) — and is an active community participant. She is a member of the advanced-placement Spanish Club, the Key Club, high school seminar, and is the school ambassador.

This is the first year that the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation is offering educational grants for Excellence in Mathematics presented by Exxon Mobil Corporation. We hope you join us in honoring Sophia, and we invite you to ask your readers to celebrate the success of students like Sophia, to honor them for their support of their community, to compliment their strength of character, and pay tribute to their pride in their Hispanic heritage.

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