Gutierrez, Saenz named Merit Scholars; Narvaez earns national math scholarship

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Two Alice High School seniors were recently recognized by the College Board's National Hispanic Recognition Program for their achievement on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

National Hispanic Scholars Jose D. Gutierrez and Yvette S. Saenz are two of only 4,000 students nationwide who were recognized for this achievement.

Both Yvette and Jose, currently first and second in their class respectively, took the time to study test preparation material before hand, and felt confident going into the test that a high level of achievement would be reached.

"It's not really difficult, it's just really hard to get a high score," Gutierrez said.

Yvette said it's important to be well rounded and well read to be able to score high on the exam.

Both Saenz and Gutierrez are members of band and decathlon. They said that preparations in the 10 decathlon events over the years went a long way to preparing them for the rigors of the PSAT.

Saenz was given commended status on her test performance. Gutierrez said he would like to get into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and study physics. If not there, then his second choices are The University of Texas or Rice University.

Saenz is shooting for Harvard University, but if that doesn't work out, she is leaning toward Rice. She's not sure at the moment which way she is leaning, but she said her major would probably be in history or English.

Saenz and Gutierrez were also recognized by the College Board Advanced Placement Program for their performances during AP testing in May 2007. AP classes are college level courses which allow the students to take exams to receive college credit for successful performance in particular AP subject areas. About 18 percent of the 1.4 million high school students worldwide preformed to a level high enough for AP Scholar recognition.

Saenz and Gutierrez qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.25 on all exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. Three other students who graduated as part of the class of 2007, Samantha K. Galindo, Kathrine G. Anaya and Kristine Trejo qualified for the AP Scholar Award.

Another AHS student, Elizabeth Narvaez, was also honored this week after receiving a MathmovesU Scholarship from the Raytheon Company.

Along with an essay portion, Narvaez was also nominated by two AHS math teachers, Carlos De La Garza and Carlos Guerrero.

The scholarship, worth $1,000, also has a matching grant for the school attached to it, so Narvaez's award not only aids her future education, it helps bolster the AHS math program which will benefit her fellow students.

Math has always been a passion for Narvaez, and it is her favorite subject. Up until last year, she wanted to major in engineering in college, but since that time, she's changed direction, wanting to pursue studies in theology. Narvaez said that her favorite class is still math, and it is the area she excels most at.

"There's not really a connection between theology and math. I don't know where the theology came from, it's just something I'm interested in, but I love math," Narvaez said. "It's always come easy for me. I don't mind doing math."

Narvaez was one of five national recipients of the scholarship/grant, with the award being given four times a year.