YES Prep Public Schools
College Initiatives

An annual tradition, Chief of Program Nella García Urban and Chief Schools Officer Philip Wright announced this year’s senior spotlights at 2022 Senior Signing Day on May 25, 2022.  

García Urban kicked off this portion of the event stating that the mission of YES Prep is for our students to graduate from college prepared to LEAD and shared a leadership lesson with the Class of 2022 to carry with them into the next chapter of their lives. 

“If you wait until you feel prepared to lead, you never will. However, if you choose to act courageously when you see a need, if you make the conscious choice to lead, even before you feel fully prepared, you are leaders.” 

The following seniors have each chosen to lead, even before they felt fully prepared. 

Brays Oaks Secondary – Stephanie Koranteng 

Stephanie Koranteng embodies humble leadership and advocacy every day by being involved and leading almost every student organization on campus, some of which focus on social justice for both Black and LGBT+ students, while others promote the fine arts through dance, cheer, and other media. 

Stephanie will be attending Texas Southern University

East End Secondary – Norma Mejia 

Norma Mejia exemplifies resilience, strength, curiosity and hard work. During her time at YES Prep, she has taken it upon herself to create spaces of learning in topics East End didn't offer such as theater, social justice movements and philanthropy. She is an unstoppable leader and has set an incredible example for her Explorer family by setting pathways for others to follow. 

Norma will be attending Yale University

Eisenhower High – Alexander Lara 

Alexander Lara, this year’s Homecoming King, became a popular face around campus and is loved by so many. Alexander has been working while also attending school and takes both his job and his schoolwork extremely seriously. In his college journey, Alexander hopes to gain independence and social growth. He is proud to be a first-generation college student and hopes to give back to his community by majoring in education. 

Alexander will be attending Lamar University

Fifth Ward Secondary – Lucy Meza 

Lucy Meza exemplifies what it means to be a leader and has consistently modeled core values of Tenacity and extending Nexus. Lucy has completed the highest number of service hours in the Class of 2022 - over 200 hours - many of which were obtained during independent and distance projects during virtual learning. Lucy always offers to help others, whether it be her classmates, underclassmen, or even teachers. We know her time at YES Prep Fifth Ward is just the beginning of her leadership journey and the amazing accomplishments that she will achieve. 

Lucy will be attending Claremont McKenna

Gulfton Secondary – Daniela Chaclan 

Daniela Chaclan has exhibited an insatiable curiosity that has taken her as far away as Russia with the NSLI-Y program and has helped her impact closer to home with the SEGL program in Washington, DC. She is an incredibly hard worker who relishes a good challenge. Daniela is a Gates and Dell Scholar, and she is the valedictorian for the Force Senior Class of 2022. 

Daniela will be attending Yale University. 

North Central Secondary – Vanessa Justo 

Vanessa Justo is an academic juggernaut who serves as a campus leader, an exemplar in the classroom, and an ambassador of the campus.  She is a jovial spirit with an open mind and enormous heart. Vanessa has taken seven AP classes, is ranked third in the class with a 4.448 GPA and rising and is a member of eight different organizations and athletics teams at North Central.  

Vanessa is attending Scripps College

North Forest Secondary – Fernanda Gomez 

Fernanda Gomez is a student who, at the core of her identity, embodies the values of the Legends’ community. She not only empowers those around her, and advocates for herself and her peers, but she also challenges herself and others to step out of their comfort zone. Fernanda is a first-generation college student who has pursued opportunities such as studying at the High Mountain Institute, attending various college fly-ins, and applying to every scholarship sent her way!  

Fernanda will be attending Texas A&M University

Northbrook High – Josselyn Leija 

Josselyn Lejia will be the first in her immediate family to attend a four-year college. During her junior year of high school, just like most students, the global pandemic placed strains on her family resulting in Josselyn obtaining a part-time job. Josselyn unexpectedly lost her dad in the fall semester of her senior year. Navigating this transitional time while going through an unbearable loss, Josselyn defined what it means to be strong, exhibiting resilience and perseverance. Josselyn came through the fire with well over $100,000 in scholarships, and she is ranked third in her graduating class with a 4.27 GPA.  

Josselyn will be attending the University of Texas at Austin

Northside Secondary – Hennessy Lopez 

Hennessy Lopez’s impact on campus may seem quiet, but it certainly packs a punch! She is one of the wittiest, most intelligent student leaders Northside has ever seen. Hennessy has a photography business she has grown over the past five years, working hard to balance her work with her studies. Hennessy also volunteers her photography skills at Northside to highlight the unique cultures and skills of people in the Pride community. 

Hennessy will be attending the University of Houston

Southeast Secondary – Crystal A. Lopez 

IMPACT Scholar Crystal A Lopez is the ultimate example of leaving a place better than she found it – she adds value to every friendship, every interaction, and every space she shares with others. She commits herself entirely to everything she does and sprinkles magic into all she has a hand in. Crystal is a trailblazer at the Southeast campus and balances motherhood with grace and humility. We know there is nothing she cannot achieve and are ready to see her achieve at every level. 

Crystal will be attending San Jacinto College

Southside Secondary – Angel Thomas 

From our first ever Southside Secondary graduating senior class, Angel Thomas has left her mark on the Giant community! Her work ethic is evident in the countless times she has been on the honor roll during her high school career. Angel has been a part of five sports throughout her time at Southside, maintains a part-time job, pursues entrepreneurial endeavors, and has managed to balance these commitments with her dedication to success in the classroom. 

Angel will be attending Howard University

Southwest Secondary – Briana Galvan 

Briana Galvan is kind, charismatic, and hardworking, Briana is a leader in every sense of the word. As president of the Student Council, Briana has organized multiple events and fundraisers that have had a tremendous impact on the Southwest community. Briana has taken six AP courses and is in the top 10% of the Maverick senior class.  

Briana will be attending the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas. 

West Secondary – Rebecca Terrazas 

Rebecca Terrazas is the type of student that everyone on campus knows because of her kind nature and benevolence. She has faced tremendous personal and academic adversities but nonetheless persevered and pushed herself to take advantage of every opportunity that came her way. She applied to schools that were overmatched and still got into every single one with impressive scholarship packages based on her hard work and dedication. 

Rebecca will be attending Texas Tech

White Oak Secondary – Kaitlyn Toole-Stephens 

Kaitlyn Toole-Stephens is a leader inside and outside the classroom. She has overcome many obstacles this year and has done it all with a smile on her face. Kaitlyn was admitted into a highly competitive Honors program, which will allow her to attend college on a full academic scholarship.  

Kaitlyn will be attending Texas Southern University. 


We are certain each of these YES Prep students will continue to lead in college and beyond!

Congratulations to them and we look forward to learning where their leadership takes them. 


To learn more about Senior Signing Day, click here.

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