Erick Tapia, Senior at Youngker High School, Gets Full Ride to University of Notre Dame

Tell us about yourself and your involvement at Youngker High SchoolI was born and raised in the city of Guadalajra, Mexico. My parents were college dropouts due to me coming to this world. Growing up, I recall not living in the best conditions, where both of my parents worked full shifts seven days a week and sometimes I had to help in the small family business since the age of six. I moved to the United States at the age of 12. It took me about three years, during freshman year in high school, to be proficient and confident in the English language. I began getting involved with sports, starting with football and followed by the sport which I have played since the age of four, soccer. During my junior year I made a big decision that affected my involvement at YHS. I enrolled in a two-year aviation maintenance school in the city of Glendale called West-MEC that involved attending on a daily basis for 4.5 hours a day plus a full month during the summer. Due to the time and dedication needed to be invested in this aviation school, my involvement at YHS drastically decreased.  For almost two years, I have developed the habit of never getting home before 6pm due to the late school hours. It has also influenced some very important sacrifices such as giving up sports and school organizations. Furthermore, it caused me to get a part-time job during the weekend to fund for travel expenses. However, this trade-off (extra education vs. extracurricular activities) has helped me quite a lot in strengthening my college applications as well as scholarships.

What do you aspire to be when you grow up? NASA Aerospace Engineer.

Tell us about the college that you were accepted to. University of Notre Dame. Established in 1842, it is a Catholic research university located in South Bend Indiana.

What did you have to do to prepare to get an academic scholarship? It was a very long process dating back to my late junior year. A non-profit organization that connects low-income students with high-level universities called Questbridge, opens a strict application for prospective students in early August. This application consists of submitting personal information, school grades, extracurricular activities, community service, job experience, essays, teacher recommendations, and financial information. The organization will choose a selective pool of applicants who they believe to find ready to apply to prestigious universities across the nation. In order to be a strong applicant, I had to take the most rigorous classes at my school and stay involved.  After completing the Questbridge application and being selected as a finalist, I moved on to applying to Universities directly during the month of October. If any of those universities were to accept me, I would be given a full-ride scholarship for 4 years. On December 2nd, I was notified by Questbridge that Notre Dame had accepted my application and had been given a full scholarship by them.

What will you major in? Aerospace Engineering.
 
What is your favorite thing about your school? Tell us about a great teacher that you have (past or present).
My favorite thing about my school is the relaxing environment that can be found every day on campus. It allows the students to spend some quality time with friends and relieve stresses caused by schoolwork. I would also like to give all credit of my accomplishments to Mr. Rosene, math teacher from Youngker High School. He was the one that introduced me to many doors throughout my high school career, including an opportunity to attend a residential math program at ASU for 6 weeks. Mr. Rosene often reminded us to push ourselves to the limits and explore all our options. He mentioned that we were able to accomplish anything we wanted with the appropriate mindset and dedication. I recall a turning point in high school where he showed me a flyer about Questbridge, the organization that has made my Notre Dame dream possible.

What is your favorite subject in school?
Math. It has been my favorite subject ever since my Pre-K years.

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