HEREFORD, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A Hereford High School senior is celebrating after being accepted into 19 universities with full scholarships, and he is hoping his success will inspire others.
“I’d like to think that I’m involved in virtually everything that I can be,” said Yared Avalos.
Avalos is involved in UIL events, the History Fair, he’s the drum major for the school’s marching band, and class president. He also volunteers at Big Brothers Big Sisters and helps as a migrant peer tutor.
“It was like a gradual build towards that. So I can kind of get used to developing like, when I needed to do certain things and how I could do certain things to maximize my efficiency,” said Avalos.
“You know, we all have intelligent students. I think every school in the panhandle could testify to YaYo [what he goes by] is one of those that dreams bigger than any kid I’ve ever had, any student I’ve ever taught,” said Hereford High School Social Studies Department Head Richard Lamascus.
With such a busy schedule, he had to find time to squeeze in college applications.
“It was really hard at first for me to be able to even find time to start working on my applications because I was so used to just kind of having everything pretty sorted out,” said Avalos. “I think I got really, I mean, not lucky, per se, but when the whole COVID shutdown happened is when I started working on my … essays. So I think kind of getting to just sit down in my room by myself and really just do that kind of helped me to be more vulnerable in my essays and kind of be able to write out a little bit more.”
Avalos applied to 23 schools.
“At the end, I’d say, ‘But you know what, I’m not going to get accepted into any of these, and that’s perfectly fine.’ And it was like, I was talking to myself, and I was like, ‘It’s fine if you don’t get in,’ you know, like, it’s just luck of the draw, but we’ll see what happens,” said Avalos.
Then came his first acceptance: Stanford University.
“I genuinely thought that that was going to be the only acceptance that I was going to get with,” Avalos said.
Then a week later came his acceptance from Harvard University.
Soon, he had 17 more acceptance letters, including Columbia University, all offering him a full scholarship.
“I just felt really blessed … and lucky, first and foremost,” said Avalos. “I also felt really thankful that all these schools kind of, you know, decided to take a chance on someone like me from a small town like Hereford. I don’t really think that happens often. So I was just really thankful that they did that.”
“Does it not tell you a lot that schools that even come from a really hard-working community or working-class community, like Hereford, can produce students like that? And I think every school in the panhandle can and does,” said Lamascus.
With the pick of the litter, Avalos chose Stanford. He will not be the only Avalos to walk the halls of Stanford University. His older brother is currently a senior there.
“I tell him that you get to write your own ticket, that you get to determine your future, that the amount of work and that you put with your talent and your goals and dreams will help determine the direction you go,” said Lamascus.
Avalos plans to study public policy and become an immigration attorney in the area.
“There’s just a huge population of immigrants here in the Texas Panhandle that no one really knows exists, because they’re kind of invisible if you don’t have a personal relationship with one,” said Avalos. “I’ve seen it, I mean, here in Hereford, a lot of times you have to wait until someone comes from Dallas to come to the church to even be able to speak to one. So I would love to be able to, you know, one day come back and kind of fill in that kind of need that we have here in the area … and then maybe be able to run for office. I think that’d be really cool to kind of start changing those laws.”
One of the biggest pieces of advice Avalos has for those who will soon start their college application process is this:
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from, where your parents are from, what situation you’re in, you know? If you want to take a chance and apply to those big schools, that is possible, and you can do that. So I just, I mean, I think I kept telling my mom over and over again, ‘I don’t want to publicize it for myself, I want to publicize it because I want people to know that this is this is something that is achievable and it’s something that is attainable.’ That is attainable, even if you do come from a small town like Hereford. So yeah, I really do hope that this will help to encourage some other students across the town to apply and, you know, get an application together and just send it out and see what happens.”
Hear more of Avalos’ advice to upcoming seniors below:
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