Palmview HS senior receives 17 college acceptance letters, 7 from Ivy League schools
A Palmview High School senior received 17 college acceptance letters, including seven from Ivy League schools.
Palmview High School senior Xavier Piña said he couldn't believe all of the acceptance letters he received. However, his dedication to learning started long before setting foot inside a classroom.
His parents, Norma and Sergio Piña, said their son knew how to read, write, and basic math before entering Pre-K.
"He knew all the numbers and how to add and subtract," his dad said. "When he got to Pre-K, they didn't know what to do with him."
They said their son, the youngest of four, would go over his older siblings' homework, always trying to learn something new.
That dedication carried Piña through his academic journey, with dreams of attending college always on his mind; he says he's always been "down to go to Harvard or MIT."
He had the opportunity to take physics classes at Harvard during the summer of his junior year, but it wasn't all about school work.
Piña was also involved in extracurricular activities, including band, orchestra, mariachi, among other clubs; at one point, he was balancing a job, internship, and school all at once.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit at the end of his junior year, he adapted.
"I, kind of, had to put in hours outside of school because I was getting ready for my AP exams," Piña said. "Those were really important to me at that time because I had a goal in mind."
His goal was to be the first junior at La Joya Independent School District to become a national AP Scholar. To accomplish his goal, Piña had to take eight advanced placement exams; he taught himself the material for three and passed all eight.
Piña applied for 19 universities across the country, including eight Ivy League schools; 17 accepted him.
The day he received the first letter, Piña said he had to refresh the page multiple times to make sure it wasn't a mistake.
Now, with dreams of pursuing a career in the medical field, Piña wants his fellow students in the Rio Grande Valley to know that anything is possible through hard work and dedication.
"Find your passions, take as long as you need to find those," he said. "Once you find them, definitely, stick to them and do whatever makes you happy."