Sebastian Gray opened the e-mail on his phone and stared at it, not sure what to think. Within a few seconds, the realization dawned on him that he had just accomplished something special. The e-mail informed him that he had been selected as a National Hispanic Scholar by the College Board.
“I thought it was so cool,” said Gray, a senior at Dallas International School. “I didn’t know much about it, but it is really cool to have that recognition.”
The College Board operates the National Hispanic Recognition Program, which identifies scholars of Hispanic descent each year. The award is considered a prestigious designation, and can be a highlight on a student’s college application.
“Hispanics are a huge population here in the United States,” Gray said while explaining more about the selection process. “My mom is from Mexico, so I’m half Mexican. They look at your PSAT score and if it was high enough, you get put into consideration and then they go through your grades and look at you as a person and then evaluate if you’re a scholar.”
Gray hopes the award will bolster his candidacy to the many universities he is applying to, particularly the U.S. service academies.
“I’m currently applying to all the academies—the naval academy, army academy and the Air Force academy,” Gray said. “I want to serve in the military as a commissioned officer. I’m applying to traditional colleges too, but I’m hoping to get an ROTC scholarship. After you finish school with the scholarship, you serve five years in your assigned branch.”
Gray’s first choice would be the naval academy in Annapolis, Maryland. His father attended the school and served in the Navy. Gray also wants to continue his public service after completing his degree.
“My main focus is computer science and that’s what I want to study,” Gray said. “If I go to a service academy, I would like to major in cybersecurity. I want to work for the CIA or another government branch.”
The senior is also a star on the DIS soccer team, and plans to continue his soccer career in college. He said he will attempt to walk on to the team no matter where he goes.
Gray credits DIS for helping prepare him for success.
“It’s such a unique school,” Gray said. “I got to learn French from being a little kid, and you’ll always stand out compared to other kids because of that. I learned to stay organized and not stress. Everything works out in the end. If something doesn’t work out at first, it will eventually work out.”