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EPISD Student Spotlight: David Gonzalez, Burges High School

David Gonzalez David Gonzalez

(BURGES HIGH SCHOOL -- May 3, 2021) — Burges Early College senior David Isaiah Gonzalez already looks comfortable in his Harvard cap and sweatshirt. The second-ranked student in his class is also an accomplished student athlete. Gonzalez is excited to head to Cambridge this fall to embark on a major in the social sciences. He sat down with Community Engagement virtually for this edition of the EPISD Senior Spotlight to talk Ivy League schools and thriving in the pandemic. 

How has being in BECHS helped you prepare for college and beyond?

BECHS has helped prepare for college by giving me experiences that I would otherwise never would have gotten. Whether that be taking courses at EPCC where I got to interact with people who were completely different from me, the professors I've meet and insight I've gained from them, or simply just exposure to upper-level courses made the program all the worthwhile.  

What did you do during high school that helped you attain acceptance at Harvard and Georgetown?

Colleges like Georgetown and Harvard are extremely competitive and get an overload of applicants who are highly qualified. The thing that I believe set me apart from the rest of the pack was the fact that I wasn't afraid to be myself and to tell my story in my applications. I wouldn't say it was necessarily something I did in high school because I can guarantee that there were hundreds of applicants doing the exact same thing as me. High GPA, perfect test scores, and extracurriculars aren't as impressive as they used to be, and it comes down which student is going to fit best at a particular school. 

What activities are you involved in?

I’m involved in Student Council, cross country, track, golf, National Honor Society (vice president), Burges Early College High School Buddies, Chick Fil A Leader Academy, Life Teen and Bella’s Bargains. I’m also Senior Class president and served as Junior Class president, and vice president of my sophomore and freshman classes. 

Names are some of your achievements in high school? 

I’m No. 2 in my class. Some of my accomplishments including being selected to participate in the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s USC Youth Leader Institute and received the Outstanding Student award for Social Studies.

What do you plan to study at Harvard? 

I plan on attending Harvard University in the fall and pursue an academic focus surrounding the social sciences. I'm currently debating in majoring either Psychology or Economics.  

How does it feel to be accepted to such prestigious colleges?

Being accepted into prestigious schools just goes to show that hard work does pay off. I'm very grateful for the opportunities I have as well as for the admission officers at these institutions who believed I would succeed at their schools.  

What other colleges have you been accepted to?

I've been accepted to UT Austin, Swarthmore and Georgetown. 

How have you been able to make the most of track and cross country during your senior year?

As I approach the end of my track season, I never would have imagined that this would be the way my senior year would end. I longed for cross country to start again over the summer, yet I was devastated when I was diagnosed with appendicitis and had to have surgery at the start of the season. However, all I could do was pick myself up and try my best, even if it wasn't the results I expected to get coming into the season.

What are you doing to bring a sense of normalcy to school during the pandemic?

Besides not being able to hang out with friends or really engage in any public activities, I'm doing a lot of the same things to keep a sense of normalcy. Whether that be staying on top of school, working out daily, or simply just texting/talking to friends, I don't see why the pandemic should stop me from doing the things I enjoy, I just go about them differently now.

What are your plans for the summer? 

Depending on the status of COVID-19 will determine what my summer plans are. Ideally, I would love the opportunity to visit Cambridge before I have to go up in the Fall, but if I can't I plan on making the most of the time I still have left before college.

Anything you’d like to add? 

I can't really say it has always been a dream for me to attend Harvard. Yes, I've always wanted to be accepted into an Ivy League institution, but no matter how hard you work or how qualified of a student you are, you can't expect to get into an Ivy. I would be lying if I didn't say that I'm overwhelmed with joy that I get pursue this new chapter of my life. Back when my father was applying for college, he managed to get accepted into Columbia, however, due to some other circumstances he decided not to attend. I see my acceptance to Harvard as finishing what my dad started, being the first person in my family to attend an Ivy League and I couldn't be prouder. 

Interview by Reneé de Santos