Student Recipient of National Hispanic Heritage Foundation Award

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BROWNSVILLE – A GEAR UP student worked to become one of the top mathematicians in the U.S.

Brownsville student Clarissa Castillo won the Hispanic Heritage Regional Bronze Youth Award. But her GEAR UP facilitator, Celina Barrerra Scott, said she went farther than that.

“She contacted me that she had been selected by the CEO and she was a national winner in the category of math and accounting, which is right up her alley,” she said.

Castillo was one of the eight who won a prestigious award, beating out more than thousands of students from across the country.

She said her love of numbers made her decide to apply for the scholarship.

“There were about eight categories. There was business, accounting and math, STEM, medical, computer science, technology and community service and education… I applied for math because I have always really liked math and it was something that I wanted to do in the future,” she said.

The student said it took arduous work to win the award.

“When I applied during August, I had to write up some essays about what being Hispanic means to me, what I have done to continue with accounting, what I will do eventually one day and just about my family and personal hardships,” she explained.

Clarissa said all those hardships taught her some important lessons.

“I just really love helping people. I love helping my parents, I love helping my church… I feel like being intelligent is one thing, but being able to share the knowledge, that’s better than anything because you want to spread that. You just don’t want to keep it in, you want others to get ahead as well,” she said. 

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