By Mariah Cox, MHS Independent Study in Journalism student
Midway High School AVID student and senior Jasmine Salazar was one of the select few Dell Scholarship winners announced March 8th. Her award includes a $20,000 scholarship, a Dell mentor to help her with questions about academic, financial, and emotional challenges, a Dell laptop, college textbook credits, and tutoring.
“My immediate thought after I cried was to go right to Mrs. [Nicole] Miles and tell her that I won,” Salazar said. “I hope she knows that I wouldn’t have won it without her.”
In the fall, AVID seniors were required to complete the Dell Scholarship application process. There is a long list of criteria to be able to apply for the scholarship, including filling out an application, entering in grades for all classes in high school, describing one’s college plans, and writing eight essays. The topics of the essays fall under seven categories: college major, college choice, preparing for success, responsibilities, financial aid, family history, and adversity.
The Dell Scholars program was created by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Thousands of applicants apply, but only 500 students are chosen to be Dell Scholars. According to the program’s website, “Dell Scholars are 25 percent more likely to earn their bachelor’s degrees within four to six years of high school graduation compared to students of similar socioeconomic backgrounds. Only half of their scholarship recipients graduate with any debt, and the average debt of those who borrow is less than $15,000, which is approximately half than the national debt average.“
AVID students do many things, one of which is working towards getting college financial aid. AVID is a college readiness program that has given so many students the opportunities they would have never been able to get on their own. Miles is one of the campus AVID coordinators who are proud of Salazar.
“I am so excited that she is being rewarded for her hard work,” Miles said. “She’s worked really hard to get to this point in her senior year, and I know it’s really going to help her thrive in a college setting.”
Being in the AVID program requires a desire to succeed not only in high school, but to also advance to college. Students like Salazar say it is a worthwhile program.
“Students should join AVID because, like myself, I never I thought I was good at anything,” Salazar said. “Sports and music never grew on me, but AVID was there to fill that void of success academically and [allowed me to discover] who I want to be for my future.”
The AVID program is always on the lookout for new members and should contact Miles on how to apply.
“Students wanting to join AVID but are too afraid that it will be hard should know it is OK, because AVID isn’t for everybody,” Salazar said. “However it’s really good to at least give it a try and put your best effort into it. My freshman year I didn’t feel good enough to be in it but now I’m more than happy to have the chance to take it with me all through my college life.”
Salazar plans to attend Texas Women’s University in the fall of 2019 where she will study dental hygiene.
“I’m most interested in working in a pediatric office because kids are the future and I want to see their growth and great smile[s] as much as possible,” she said.
On top of winning the Dell Scholarship, Salazar also won the Hewitt Chamber scholarship that AVID seniors were also required to apply for.
“I also realized that I am very proud of myself in a way I’ve never felt before,” Salazar said of her big Dell award. “It is a huge accomplishment for me because not only for the money but the hard work I put into high school has paid off because I am now considered a Dell Scholar for my achievements.”