Mount Vernon High School senior Mia Vaquero, who will be graduating in June, was accepted into 15 schools and offered a cumulative $500,000 in scholarships, Mount Vernon City School District officials announced on Wednesday, May 24.
The first person in her family to pursue a college education, Vaquero was inspired to work hard in school after seeing how much her parents, who came to the US from Mexico, worked to support her.
After coming to this realization, Vaquero knew she wanted to find a way to support her family while doing something that she loved.
Her journey did not come without hardship though, as early on in her high school career, she was diagnosed with a learning disability. This caused her to struggle during her freshman year, and receive poorer grades as a result.
This challenge did not stop Vaquero though, as she would still spend hours studying to ensure that she graduated at the top of her class. She would also work closely with her teachers and attend after-school classes in an effort to earn good grades, district officials said.
Eventually, her hard work began paying off and she made the Principal's Honor Roll, her favorite accomplishment during her high school career.
As the time grew near to apply for schools, Vaquero's teachers helped her with the process, including guiding her through the process to receive financial aid.
"Since we have Dr. (Pauline) Pearce as our principal now, it’s definitely helped," Vaquero said, adding, "She has built workshops to help us fill out FAFSA, how to choose colleges, and how to get more money for college. And I have many teachers who helped me with my scholarships, essays, and honors programs.”
Obviously, the help from Vaquero's teachers proved effective in netting her hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship funds.
For those wondering which of the 15 schools Vaquero settled on, she has decided to attend John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a full-ride scholarship.
There, she will major in criminal justice, and eventually become a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent.
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