YES Prep Public Schools
Patrick Prusinovski, College Initiatives Team

Since 1989, the Posse Foundation, has worked “to identify, recruit and train individuals with extraordinary leadership potential.” Students selected as Posse Scholars receive full-tuition leadership scholarships from Posse’s partner colleges and universities.

Posse students are selected to participate in pre-collegiate training programs with the Posse Foundation Houston. In August, students from the Posse Foundation Houston, enroll in college together, as a small cohort of students, attending the same college together so they could “back each other up.”  Houston students applying to Posse can be selected for Posse groups at Bryn Mawr College, Carleton College, Colby College, Texas A&M University, the University of Virginia and Wellesley College.

Presenting YES Prep’s Posse Scholars

This year’s Posse scholars along with their college counselors, share with us what this opportunity means to them

Noelia Calderon, YES Prep Brays Oaks Secondary

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee

Noelia is an outstanding Brays Oaks Cavalier scholar and embodies her campus values daily. She has dedicated her four years in high school to academic excellence and has an impressive portfolio of 10 advanced placement courses. She is involved in various clubs and organizations at school and in her community, putting her volunteerism efforts in STEM-based and animal welfare education programs. On campus, she is a member of the Student Council, Latinx Student Association, National Honor Society, Anime Club and more. She is passionate about learning and developing a wealth of skills, such as crocheting, which she has turned into a small business. Calderon is excited to embark on her journey to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee where she aspires to major in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Luisa Lagunes, YES Prep Brays Oaks Secondary

Byrn Mawr College in Bryan Mawr, Pennsylvania

Luisa is a Brays Oaks Cavalier through and through!  She has been on the varsity soccer team for four years, is a founding member and the current president of the Latinx Student Association and an active member of National Honor Society.  Additionally, Lagunes has given back to Brays Oaks by serving as a CavCamp Orientation counselor and campus tour guide; she frequently mentors younger students and serves as a role model of how to balance work, school and family commitments.  As she heads off to Bryn Mawr College in the fall, she aspires to major in Math or Education.

Jose Velazquez, YES Prep Northbrook High

Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota

Jose Velazquez has demonstrated remarkable dedication and commitment throughout his high school career. His active involvement in the community, participation in JROTC and volunteering for Wreaths Across America are testament to his character. Known for his curious mind, Velazquez is a valued classmate who is always ready to assist his peers.

He will be attending Carleton College this fall and when asked what he would like to study, he said, “As of now, I have gained an interest in pursuing physics due to my enjoyment of math and problem-solving.”

When asked why he applied to POSSE he shared, “I chose Carleton College due to the multitude of influences in my school that attended Carleton and the experience that I had while at the campus. My Junior Pre-Calculus teacher and my Senior Advance Placement Environmental Science teacher (APES) both attended Carleton and both always praise how fun and engaging it was to study there. This peaked my interest and, in the spring of 2023, I had the chance to visit the campus. This short visit made me fall in love with the idea of attending Carleton because of the welcoming environment and the close relationships that could be formed with professors and other students. Prior to this visit, I had already wanted to attend a smaller college but was hesitant if I should just go to a big one due to the convenience of them but seeing how comfy the campus at Carleton felt, I made up my mind that the environment at Carleton would be perfect for me.”

Gabriel Morales, YES Prep Northline Secondary

Colby College in Waterville, Maine

Gabriel Morales is a founding student at YES Prep Northline Secondary. He will be attending Colby College in Waterville, Maine this fall. Morales is planning to major in Government and aspires to attend law school upon graduating from Colby. He has been involved in many organizations on campus; he was the founding Vice-President of the YPNL Student Government and was a founding member of the PRIDE Club. Morales has consistently taken the most challenging classes offered at Northline Secondary throughout his high school career. He is extremely excited to move to Maine for school and is ready to get involved and share his experiences with the new people he will meet.

Marco Pina, YES Prep West Secondary

Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota

Marco is a marvelous West Marvel that is attending Carleton College this fall! He is an ambitious and bright student that is aspiring to major in computer science. With this major he hopes to gain the skills and guidance to create an app or software that will aid and benefit his community.

Some highlights of his time at West Secondary include the junior spring trip and the summer protégé camp. Pina was able to visit San Antonio for his junior spring trip and had the opportunity to tour colleges. This opportunity was monumental to his development, “Those college visits inspired and motivated my drive to go to college even more.” He shared. At summer protégé camp, incoming 6th graders visited West Secondary to learn how to earn their Y. This was a unique and fun experience for him that stayed with him for a long time.

On campus, Pina is an active member of the Student Leadership Council. It has taught him how to set up and run meetings, as well as learning how to execute fundraisers. Overall, the council has prepared him to communicate and plan in a professional manner.

He is excited and hopeful for what college and the future will bring to have in store for him!

Congratulations and good luck!

Congratulations to our four Posse Scholars for attaining this opportunity and thank you to the teachers, college counselors, families and friends who supported them throughout the process. We wish you the best as you prepare for this next chapter in your lives.

To Noelia, Luisa, Jose, Gabriel and Marco, congratulations and we are excited for what your outstanding leadership will bring to your college communities.

About the Posse Program

The Posse program recruits leaders from 10 cities in the U.S., including Houston. Students must be nominated by their high school or a community-based organization and can be nominated as early as their second semester in their junior year. Students must demonstrate leadership within their high school, community or family and demonstrate academic potential. The Posse Scholarship is neither a minority nor a need-based scholarship and it is open to students of all backgrounds.

For students and families interested in learning more about Posse, click here.

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