Senior Pricila Martinez earned academic honors

Senior Pricila Martinez earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs last summer. The award is given to students who score in the top 10% in the PSAT/NMSQT or score three or higher on an AP exam. Martinez received recognition for her score of three in AP Human Geography and her PSAT score. The National Recognition Programs grant academic honors to underrepresented students, which can be included on college and scholarship applications and connect students with universities across the country, helping them stand out during the admissions process.

Initially, Martinez was unaware of the award as her counselor had not informed her. "When I first heard about this award, I was very confused. I applied in the summer and forgot about it. I went home to my parents, and they were very excited for me, so I realized it was a big deal," Martinez said. Martinez consulted with her teacher, Xavier Longoria, who explained the benefits of the award. "Mr. Longoria talked to me and said, 'Do you realize how many opportunities are open by this recognition?' So then I told my parents," she said.

Although the award does not immediately grant scholarships, counselor Ana Salinas recognizes its numerous benefits for college. "There are merit-based scholarships with different institutions that you apply to, and you may get awards through them because of the recognition," Salinas said. Additionally, the award can be listed on a student's resume, which can help them stand out during the college application process.

Martinez was surprised to receive the award, as she did not believe she was a good student in the past. 

"It threw me off guard, and I had a lot of procrastination, and I wasn't really doing my work," Martinez said. 

Despite this, teachers and counselors recognize her as a hard-working student. 

"She's driven and knows what direction she wants to take. She takes the most rigorous courses we have available," Salinas said.

Receiving the National Hispanic Recognition Award was a turning point for Martinez. 

"It makes me feel like I have a chance at doing something. Last year I was doing very badly in my classes, and seeing that I won a recognition makes me feel hopeful," Martinez said.

"By awarding students who excel academically with honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs, we aim to create pathways to college for underrepresented students," said Steve Bumbaugh, College Board senior vice president of College & Career Access.