East Aurora senior Moises Jimenez named Hispanic Scholar by College Board
East Aurora High School senior Moises Jimenez was recently named a 2020-2021 Hispanic Scholar by the College Board National Recognition Programs. In December, Jimenez was notified of the honor in recognition of his excellence in academic achievement.
The College Board National Recognition Programs create pathways to college for students from underrepresented communities by awarding academic honors and connecting students with universities across the country.
East High School counselor Jonathan Kempf shared the news with Jimenez. Kempf was joyful and not surprised that Jimenez was named.
"Moises has been exceptional at East High, and I could not think of a more deserving candidate," Kempf said. "He is a very special student who not only overachieves academically, but personally as well."
Kempf pointed to Jimenez' maturity, work ethic, community service, and ability to rise to the occasion, even when the odds are against him, as some of the attributes that make him successful.
"Moises is as curious about learning as he is empathetic when it comes to understanding. He enjoys learning how things work and exposing himself to new thoughts and ideas, so he can further his goals. He has a powerful growth mindset."
For Jimenez, he was very grateful to have been recognized, and said the recognition helps validate all the hard work and late nights spent studying.
"It not only means a lot to me but also to my parents," Jimenez said. "They came to this foreign country to give me a better life and worked hard every day to put a roof over my head. It feels great to show them that their hard work was worth it."
While it is not a scholarship program, the College Board National Recognition Programs grant academic honors that students can include on college applications. Colleges use these honors to identify students from underrepresented groups who have excelled on their PSAT/NMSQT and in their classrooms.
Jimenez was invited to apply by College Board because his PSAT scores rank in the top 2% of Hispanic students in the Midwest.
When asked about his secret for achieving this level of academic success, Jimenez said he believes the difference comes down to his work ethic. "Hard work is the key to achieving greatness in all aspects of life," he said. "You may have natural talent, but it will only take you so far. If you are willing to put in the work, you can achieve anything you set your sights on."
Along with a strong work ethic, Jimenez believes another important part of success is not being afraid to fail. "The way you deal with failure is a critical part of being able to succeed."
Jimenez added that many times in society, people only highlight their triumphs, but not their struggles. "I have been rejected close to 20 plus times for different scholarships or academic programs."
Jimenez said that while rejection may feel horrible, it should be taken as "a learning experience." He said, "If I had quit the first time I failed, I would not be where I am today."
The recognition has opened many doors for Jimenez, including automatically receiving acceptances to merit scholarships and to honors colleges across the country. While it may not have been the sole factor for his admission, Jimenez believes the award played a part in his recent acceptance to Stanford University.
"Your grades and test scores are an important part of college applications, but the activities you decide to do outside of school are just as important," he said.
Regarding his time at East High, Jimenez pointed to a number of people who have helped him, including all his friends and teachers. However, he said he owes the biggest thanks to the Waubonsee Upward Bound program, which facilitates college readiness, for setting him up for success from the beginning.
"If I had to choose one person who most helped me, I would choose my former Upward Bound adviser, Dr. Chassie Sherretz, who helped me become the man I am today. She challenged me to be become better, and I thank her for that."
Jimenez plans to attend Stanford University this fall, studying mechanical engineering and political science. While not yet set on either as a major, he will see which interests him the most once he starts school.
Jimenez stressed again that he has met a lot of people who have helped him throughout high school, and believes it is important for students to have a mentor to help along the journey.
"If anyone at East High ever needs anything, I am willing to help no matter what it is. I want to see everyone from my community succeed."