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Calif. student defies odds, gets 21 college acceptances, $2.4 million in scholarships

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 9:37 AM EDT
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SALINAS, Calif. (KSBW) - From Stanford to Yale and UCLA, Everett Alvarez High School valedictorian Jorge Marquez Sanchez was accepted to 21 universities and offered a whopping $2.4 million in scholarships.

But it’s Harvard he’s chosen.

Marquez Sanchez says it wasn’t easy.

“I tried to take the most rigorous course available. I also tried to volunteer a lot of activities ... I also did community service at Salvation Army, and when applying to college, I try to really look at myself to see, who I am as a person,” he said.

Experiencing senior year during a pandemic added to the challenges.

“I think many people underestimate how difficult it was,” he said. “It was difficult having Wi-Fi problems sometimes, not having help right away when you need it, learning most of it by yourself because you don’t really have a teacher.”

While he doesn’t know what the future holds just yet, he knows that he wants to give back.

“My main goal is to be able to empower communities, underprivileged communities so that I’m able to increase their resources,” Marques Sanchez said.

He is now a role model to the students everywhere, said Dan Burns, superintendent of Salinas Union High School District.

“So when he goes off to Harvard on a Fulbright scholarship, he will be coming from a community where that normally doesn’t happen,” he said. ”And so he will be a great model for other students to look up to for their potential achievement, as well as they start their freshman year coming in.”

Marquez Sanchez said he is excited to start college at Harvard in the fall.

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