It’s not often a student forgoes scholarship offers, let alone a full-ride, to nationally recognized universities. After hearing Clear Horizons Early College High School (CHECHS) student Daniel Mina’s story, KPRC 2 surprised him with one of its annual KPRC 2 Senior Scholarship Awards.
This is the second time a CHECHS student has received KPRC 2’s Senior Scholarship Award and the local news station knows how to keep it a big surprise. As KPRC 2 morning anchor Rachel McNeill burst into the CHECHS senior assembly, applause was heard throughout the lecture hall as the camera was rolling and Mina was asked to come forward to receive his scholarship.
“I knew I was nominated for the scholarship earlier this year, but I didn’t know I would be a recipient,” said Mina. “I had forgotten I had applied for it. Then yesterday I received a congratulatory email from the station, but since I hadn’t received the scholarship I thought it may be a scam. Little did I know the CHECHS staff had a hand in encouraging me not to think anything of it, so when I saw Rachel McNeill walk into our assembly today I knew they were being slick,” he laughed.
But the $2,500 KPRC scholarship wasn’t all that Mina received. This year, Mattress One is partnering with KPRC and providing scholarship recipients with gift certificates for a new mattress.
Graduating as one of the top 10 students in his class, Mina was offered numerous scholarships from universities outside of Texas and a full-ride scholarship to the University of Houston main campus, but he turned them all down. Mina will be attending the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) in the fall on his own dime. While it may cause some financial strain, for Mina family comes first.
Last fall Mina and his family suffered the loss of his mother, who was the primary caregiver of his older brother who has cerebral palsy. With his father already working full-time, Mina stepped in to help with his brother and other family obligations. With the 22-mile daily roundtrip to the University of Houston main campus he decided it was best to stay as close to home as possible, thus deciding to attend UHCL and major in computer science.
“I’ve had the honor of teaching Daniel in the 6th and 11th grades,” said Sharlene Kahlich, CHECHS independent study-mentorship teacher and student council faculty advisor. “Watching him grow into an amazing young man has been a privilege. He has excelled in the face of many obstacles including the sudden loss of his mother. Through all of his struggles, Daniel has successfully triumphed at CHECHS and San Jacinto College with all the humor, diligence and excellence he possesses.”
CHECHS Community Liaison and Senior Independent Study-Mentorship teacher Natalie Nylen added that along with being a great example of academic excellence, Mina is also an example of perseverance. “Despite the difficult challenges he’s faced, nothing has deterred Daniel from giving up his education in any way,” said Nylen. “Every scholarship will help him in the long run. He is quite gifted in many ways but his gift of empathizing with others and sacrificing for the sake of his family is one of his best attributes for such a fine young man.”
“Both CHECHS and San Jacinto College have provided me with an incredible foundation for my future,” said Mina. “Thanks to this program I have been able to complete an Associate of Science in Mathematics, having taken Calculus 3 and University Physics 2, which will help me succeed in the math and science intensive field of computer science. I am truly grateful that I had the opportunity to be part of such a great program and spend my years with such great people.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.