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Student Spotlight: Santiago “Go” Gonzalez, El Paso High School

(EL PASO HIGH SCHOOL — Feb. 15, 2023) – Ivy League-bound senior Santiago “Go” Gonzalez excels both academically and with extracurricular activities at El Paso High. The El Paso High yell leader, who is No. 2 in his class, plans to study math this fall in college – most likely at Yale University where he was recently accepted. Community Engagement interviewed him virtually for this edition of Student Spotlight.


EPISD: Tell us about being accepted to Yale? What made you want to go there?

Santiago Gonzalez: Being accepted into Yale was such a roller coaster of emotions. It has been my dream school ever since I was little because of the residential college system, the libraries, and the beautiful campus. Although not set in stone, there is an extremely high chance (more than 95%) that I attend Yale next fall.


EPISD: What other colleges have you been accepted to? 

SG: I have been accepted into ASU, Seton Hall, and St. Mary’s. I am still awaiting decisions from around 15 other schools, mainly Harvard, Stanford and Georgetown.


EPISD: What do you look forward to most in college at Yale?

SG: For me, I look forward to being able to really dig deep into my topics of interest, such as number theory, calculus and quantum mechanics.


EPISD: What do you plan to major in and what are your career goals?

SG: I plan on majoring in Applied Math with a concentration in computer science. I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. and am thinking of becoming a professor when all is done.


EPISD: What advice would you give students interested in applying to an Ivy?

SG: The biggest advice I have for someone interested in applying to an Ivy is to find out what you are passionate about and really focus on volunteering in that field. While I am a math person, I am extremely passionate about speech and debate and my continued involvement for all four years of high school as either a staff member, trainer, or participant was a vital part in my application.


EPISD: What scholarships have you received?

SG: I have received numerous scholarships for my other schools. Yale does not offer merit-based scholarships to any applicants. I plan on applying for a few scholarships, however, in hopes of receiving more aid.


EPISD: What are your honors and achievements in high school?

SG: Essential Tiger; top 5 students all four years; second place, 2020 Great Debate (state level speech competition); local and regional finishes for Number Sense (all four years); NHS; helped my employer achieve Best of El Paso for Education Department. (Chalk Talk Tutors)


EPISD: Tell us about your involvement in StuCo?

SG: I’ve been an active member of StuCo for all four years of high school. However, this has been the first year that I have been an officer. As the membership officer, I am in charge of tracking attendance of different events and trying to recruit students outside of StuCo to join. Additionally, I serve as the yell leader at all EPHS sporting events, leading chants and supporting our Tigers.


EPISD: What activities are you involved in other than StuCo?

SG: I am the senior class vice president, High Q captain, member of Chick-Fil-A Leadership Academy, Tiger Leads, Magnet Ambassador, peer tutoring at school and have been a part of math club for four years.


EPISD: Why has it been important to you to get involved in school?

SG: For me, school has always been a community that I want to help succeed. The family that I have here at El Paso High is such a wonderful community that pushes me to be the best version of myself. Consequently, this has led me to do everything that I can to help improve my school through my constant involvement.


EPISD: What have you been doing outside of school activities?

SG: Outside of school, I have been the category director of Extemporaneous Speaking for three years, have worked at Cinemark for a year-and-a-half, worked at Chalk Talk Tutoring for one year, and have staffed numerous programs for National Hispanic Institute.


EPISD: Tell us about being a yell leader for El Paso High? What do you do? What makes it fun? SG: In all honesty, being the yell leader for EPHS was the last thing that I thought I would be doing this year. I have always been sort of introverted, but because no one else stepped up to the plate I suddenly found myself thrust into the role. Contrary to my preconceived beliefs, being a yell leader allowed me to break out of my shell and it has by far become my favorite extracurricular activity. Instead of being in the stands during football games, I am on the field, leading the chants which feels so amazing.


EPISD: What drew you to the magnet program?

SG: The magnet programs were actually the reason that drew me to EPHS as a freshman in the first place. I thought that the dual language tract, in particular, seemed incredible since it would lead to my Spanish becoming much more proficient. Additionally, the STEM math program seemed great since the opportunities for studying math in depth were great.


EPISD: How has being a magnet student prepared you for college?

SG: The magnet programs have each prepared me for college in different ways. The STEM pathways have made me discover my love for math and science, leading to in-depth study at a level greater than without the programs. The dual language program has not only allowed me to have a greater understanding of Spanish, but my English and writing skills have also improved. Finally, the AP capstone magnet program has given me better research and presentation skills.


EPISD: As a magnet ambassador, what is your goal/mission?

SG: As a magnet ambassador, our goal is to help spread the word of how beneficial the magnet programs are to incoming freshmen, in addition to students already at El Paso High. We are also helping to represent the different programs at any event that EPHS has.


EPISD: Anything you’d like to add?

SG: Although EPHS has been such a wonderful experience in preparing me for college and beyond, I can’t wait to take the first step in my next journey as a college student. I would also like to add that I am incredibly grateful for my parents, teachers, and friends who have made this dream of mine true.