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Seven Irving ISD Seniors Named QuestBridge National College Match Finalists

Marie Friend, Miriam Hernandez and Grace Marquez

Seven seniors from the Irving Independent School District (ISD) have been chosen as finalists for the QuestBridge National College Match, a prestigious program that provides full four-year scholarships to high-achieving students. This year, 6,683 scholars from across the nation have advanced to the final stage.

The QuestBridge National College Match program allows students to "match" with one of 50 QuestBridge college partners, earning them comprehensive financial aid packages exceeding $200,000. These scholarships cover tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and travel expenses.

The scholarship winners will be unveiled on Friday, December 1. Among the finalists are students from various Irving ISD high schools, each with unique aspirations and accomplishments.

Marie Friend - Singley Academy

Marie Friend, a senior at Singley Academy, is drawn to the possibility of attending QuestBridge partner schools. Despite a preference for staying close to home, Friend is open to exploring other opportunities that may arise.

Specializing in Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) studies at Singley, Friend aspires to pursue a major in neuroscience on the pre-med track. Her top choices include Rice University, Vanderbilt University, and Duke University.

Apart from her academic pursuits, Friend actively participates in extracurricular activities such as student council, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA).

Miriam Hernandez - Irving High School

Miriam Hernandez, a well-rounded senior at Irving High School, considers the QuestBridge recognition an honor. With a background in cross country, student council, tennis team captaincy, and a passion for graphic design and business, Hernandez is keeping her college options open.

She plans to major in business and engage in freelance graphic design while exploring the possibilities that lie ahead.

Grace Marquez - MacArthur High School

Grace Marquez, a senior at MacArthur High School, follows a family legacy and aspires to become a doctor. Inspired by her older sister, a previous QuestBridge finalist, Marquez is currently the Student Council President and actively involved in SkillsUSA.

Her interest in biomedical engineering grew during a summer research program at UT Southwestern. Marquez aspires to attend medical school and return to Irving after completing her education to serve the community.

Sebastian Rico and Valentina Romero

Sebastian Rico - Irving High School

Sebastian Rico, a senior at Irving High School, believes in seizing every opportunity without regrets. As a QuestBridge finalist, Rico aims to match with either Yale University or Rice University, pursuing a major in psychology with the goal of becoming a psychiatrist.

Apart from his passion for mental health, Rico is an accomplished musician, serving as a section leader in the Irving High band and participating in the jazz band.

Valentina Romero - Nimitz High School

Valentina Romero, a senior at Nimitz High School, came to the United States with minimal knowledge of English. Now a QuestBridge finalist, Romero is dedicated to her studies and community service, aiming to study biochemistry at a four-year university before attending medical school to become a dermatologist.

Her journey is fueled by gratitude for her mother's sacrifices and a commitment to giving back to the community.

Christian Santana and Janet Zuniga

Christian Santana - MacArthur High School

Christian Santana, a senior at MacArthur High School, has not missed a day of school in nearly 12 years. Inspired by his parents' sacrifices, Santana aspires to become a Spanish-speaking news reporter. Through QuestBridge, he hopes to match with prestigious universities like Northwestern University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, or Columbia University.

His goal is to set a new standard for his family and serve as an example for his younger brothers.

Janet Zuniga - Singley Academy

Janet Zuniga, a senior at Singley Academy, awaits the results of her QuestBridge application with a mix of excitement and apprehension about leaving home. Torn between Duke University and Rice University, Zuniga plans to study physical therapy, applying her skills in sports rehabilitation.

Engaged in various organizations, including Student Council and National Honor Society, Zuniga is eager to give back to her community and help those in need.

These seven Irving ISD seniors are among the many students nationwide vying for the opportunity to secure a full scholarship through the QuestBridge National College Match program. The scholarship winners will be announced on December 1, 2023.

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