October 9, 1998

Seven USDHS Hispanic Seniors Recognized as Among the Brightest in the Nation

By Daniel Muñoz

What if one day you go to school, like any other day, except on this particular day your counselor calls you in to the office and tells you that you are one of the brightest Hispanic students in the nation! Wow!

National Hispanic Recognition Award recipients from University of San Diego High School are: (left to right) Elena Acevedo, Rafael Delalama, Juanita LaFond, Nicholas Navarro, Lynn Armour, Erik Hanley, and David Abasta.

For seven University of San Diego High School (USDHS) seniors that was exactly what happened last month when they found out that, out 150,000 students nationwide they were in a select group of 4,000 highest scoring students. "We are very proud of students," stated Linda Reed, assistant to the Director of Development for USDHS.

The seven senior members of the University of San Diego High School who were recognized as Scholar Finalist in the National Hispanic Recognition Program were: Elena Acevedo, Lynn Armour; Fafael Delalama; Erik Hanley; Juanita L. LaFond; Nicholas J. Navarro. David I. Abasta was awarded Honorable Mention.

According to Juanita LaFond the recognition came as a complete surprise, "when we took our SAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) we marked Hispanic under ethnicity." After grading out the test the top Hispanic scholars were then identified and notified as being semifinalists in the recognition program.

Once identified as a semifinalist the student's counselor submitted teacher recommendations and extra-curricular activities the students were involved with that helped these students stand out above the rest. For example, David Abasta was editor of the school newspaper; Elena Acevedo helped start a Latin Cultural Awareness club; Erik Hanley, participated in cross country and track; Nick Navarro, worked as an intern at USD.

Above and beyond all the individual activities that these seven students are involved with, they are school representatives exemplifying the best the school has to offer as `Ambassadors for Christ'. According to Jim Jordon, Director of Development for USDHS, these students are part of a select group of students that represents the school, as ambassadors, to visitors of the campus providing the first impressions that these visitors receive.

While the Scholarship Recognition Program does not provide dollars to the students the program does identify the students as, nationally, academic achievers and as well prepared Hispanic high school seniors for post-secondary education. And according to these students this recognition will look good in their portfolio.

It goes without saying that all seven students are preparing to go to college and all seven have their sights set on some of the more prestigious colleges in the nation; USD, Berkley, Columbia, Princeton, Stanford, Duke. And in the tough world of college admissions being identified as one of the best in the nation goes a long way in providing the opportunity to attend the college of their choice.

USD High School, a private Catholic school, prides itself on being sensitive to the diverse needs, culturally, intellectually, and as socially providing an atmosphere conducive to learning and community-building. As scholoars and ambassadors for the school these students reflect the success that USDHS seeks to achieve with its students.

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