Rising Dekaney Senior Eric Garcia, from left, along with classmates Mya Frazier, Yesenia Ruelas Reynaga and Leonard Diaz pause for a group photo during the EMERGE Summer College Tour to Boston.
HOUSTON – July 30, 2018 – On their last night in Boston during the EMERGE Summer College Tour, rising Dekaney High School seniors Leonard Diaz, Mya Frazier, Eric Garcia and Yesenia Ruelas Reynaga reflected on their experience, what they had learned, and what it meant to them as they got ready to return home and continue their work as both Spring ISD EMERGE Fellows and members of Dekaney’s Class of 2019.
“I think with EMERGE taking us to Boston, letting us explore outside of Texas, and all the types of colleges there are, it opened my mind to what’s out there,” Diaz said, “and helped me know what I really want in a college.”
With a better understanding of the selective college admissions and financial aid process, they also came away with a bigger sense of what was possible for them in their own college search, and, according to Garcia, an appreciation for the work of people like Sherese Woolard, EMERGE’s Spring ISD program coordinator, who led the Boston trip.
“We really, really do have a chance to get in anywhere,” Garcia said. “I feel like we’re ‘there,’ we just need the extra help and the guidance, and I honestly feel like Miss Sherese is going to help us do that.”
The students also talked about their home campus – and future alma mater – and expressed gratitude, in particular, for special programs at Dekaney that have helped them grow and mature, including sports teams and the school’s student council organization, where Frazier will hold a leadership position this fall.
Most are also heavily involved in either band or choir at Dekaney, and Reynaga was emphatic in her appreciation and support for those programs.
“I feel like we are the people we are because of the fine arts program at our school,” she said. “I was a very insecure freshman, and I feel like being in choir has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and talk to more people than I’m used to, and perform on a stage in front of a bunch of people, and that really made me who I am. It made me the confident person that I am.”
Arriving back in Houston, the group began an intensive SAT/ACT prep course organized through EMERGE, preparing for exams in early August. By the time classes start up again at Dekaney on Aug. 15, the new seniors will all be well into the college selection and application process – balancing the demands of their last year in high school with their desires and hopes for the future, after graduation.
One thing they all agreed on? The feeling that all their hard work – and continued perseverance – could pay off in amazing ways.
“When I get back,” Frazier said, “I’m going to be focusing on pushing myself a little bit harder.”