TUCSON, Ariz. — Perla Reyes, a junior with a 4.0 at Pueblo High School, was just accepted into Harvard's pre-college summer program. Harvard is one of Reyes’ top universities to attend after she graduates.
"When I found out that I got accepted, I screamed. I barely read 'congratulations' and I couldn’t read the rest because I got so excited,” said Reyes.
Being in a low-income family, moving schools, and as a first generation student Reyes and her family have faced hardships. But family support and her determination haven't stopped her.
Slated for July -- she'll live on campus for two weeks -- and be in a class taught by a Harvard professor.
"I am very excited to go because I want to meet new people and get the Harvard college experience and everything, but I'm also nervous because I never spent that much time away from my family. Even though its only two weeks, its very nerve-wracking,” said Reyes.
Reyes’ classmate, Yakaleen Almazan, attended Harvard's program last year. With a 4.3 GPA, Almazan is number one in her junior class. Her message to Reyes, to face challenges head on.
"Honestly it is very scary for a Tucson student, just like a little girl to be going all the way over there by herself. And so I think it would probably be to face challenges head on and to not be afraid.
Because it is more of a benefit than actually being scared. And although you do get homesick, and it is really hard at times, especially like it was for me in the beginning, it does get better and you do come out really strong from it,” said Almazan.
There's no word yet if the experience will be postponed, canceled or shifted to online learning due to the coronavirus.
“I’d feel sad and disappointed because we worked really hard for us to be able to be accepted and for us not to go, but I hope that they would change and have be online or something so we can at least get some experience,” said Reyes.
Reyes and Almazan are finishing up their junior years at PHS through virtual learning.
If you have a standout student or another inspirational story, send them to KGUN9 at firstname.lastname@example.org.