A West Texas high school senior is headed to Stanford after being offered full scholarships to 19 universities.
Yared Avalos, who attends Hereford High School in Hereford, southwest of Amarillo, was accepted to all but three of the 22 schools to which he applied. Avalos got into 19, was waitlisted by two, and rejected by one.
Avalos' top three colleges were Columbia, Harvard, and Stanford, where he'll head in the fall.
Avalos' older brother is currently a senior at Stanford, and because his brother took a gap year during the pandemic they'll be able to spend a year together on campus.
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Avalos is a drum major, works part-time, and constantly looks for opportunities to improve his school, community, and his peers.
Mrs. Riesenberg, his counselor, thinks his best quality is his compassion and gratitude, which is genuine and refreshing in her opinion.
He wanted to improve his school so he and another senior started a student lead organization called "Herd Talks," where they invited a diverse group of students representing all four grade levels and shared ideas, and develop solutions to issues they noticed on campus.
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"I would not be here, having all the options that I had, obviously without my parents and without my community. But I think one thing that really helped me was writing about that and allowing myself to be vulnerable in that aspect, to be able to talk about my community and how much they mean to me, how it's helped me grow," said Avalos.
Avalos has had many Ivy League schools express interest in him and some have even offered him full-ride scholarships.
HHS Senior Class Assistant Principal Stacie Jones recalled the first time she met Avalos, "I was moving into my office in the summer of 2019, and Mr. Sauceda brought him in and introduced us. He was telling me about winning the UIL History contest and the project he prepared for that contest. I was very impressed by him and his knowledge of such diverse topics. Since that meeting, he has continued to fascinate me. He is an amazing young man, and I am so excited to see what he does in the future."
English Lead Teacher Rachael Collins describes Avalos as being very selfless and caring for his school and fellow peers.
"Yayo is one of those students that come along every few years that makes everyone around him better," she said.
"He is not afraid to advocate for himself but more importantly, he gives a voice to the members of his community that are often unwilling to speak up. When he sees a problem or an issue he not only addresses it to bring it to the attention of others, he helps to find solutions to it and works to make those solutions happen," said Collins.
Avalos wants to be a history, political science or public policy major in college and after that, go to law school and become an immigration attorney.