Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Grit, Potential, and Ambition: the GPA of Dell Scholars

Timberview seniors Peyton Sennet and Sabrina Gonzales
Sabrina Gonzales and Peyton Sennet had way more to worry about than their grades in school.

The Timberview High School seniors were dealing with a lot of difficulties in their personal lives, but they never let that stop their vision of going to college.

Gonzales just suffered the loss of her 15-year-old brother in December 2014 from a stroke; and months before that, her parents filed for divorce. While she was going through that grief, she knew she had to keep her education as a priority.

“I had to grow up and become mature at an earlier age,” said Gonzales. “I taught myself how to study and to be more responsible.”

Sennet also had some hardships to overcome. She said while she was dealing with family issues, she followed the wrong path. The 18-year was even put in a mental health facility because of her behavior. It was the birth of her little brother that made her realize that she had to turn her life around.

“He looked up to me,” said Sennet. “I needed to start being a better example because he was going to follow in my footsteps.”

The two students had their mind set on higher education, but there was one road block in the way—the money to pay for it.

As a requirement for their AVID class, which focuses on college and career readiness, Gonzales and Sennet applied to become Dell Scholars. The Dell Scholars Program places greater emphasis on a student’s determination to succeed than just academic record and test scores. The winners receive $20,000, a laptop, textbook credits, a mentor, and other support services.

Gonzales and Sennet applied for the scholarship in January. Three months later, they received the news they had been hoping for.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was crying and speechless,” said Gonzales.

“I was just worrying about finances for college the night before, so when I heard I got the scholarship, I was screaming,” said Sennet.

The seniors are two out of 300 students in the nation who received the Dell scholarship, and this is only the beginning for the big plans they have for their careers.

Both have a heart for helping others. Gonzales plans to attend Abilene Christian University and become a nurse. Sennet wants to attend the University of North Texas and become a psychologist for the often-forgotten people in jail.