A son of a seamstress has been accepted to all eight Ivy League schools due to his stellar academic performance.
Fernando Rojas, 17, has yet to decide which of the prestigious colleges he will attend once he graduates Fullerton High School. The Southern California student's achievement comes hot-on-the-heels of two other students, one from New York and another in Minnesota, being admitted to each of the historic educational institutions.
The Orange County teenager credits the upbringing he received from his seamstress mother and machine operator father, who both never made it beyond elementary school, for his work ethic.
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"They still took the time to instill in us these morals and these values of having to work hard and having to be resilient," Rojas said of his Mexican-born parents, "Knowing that I have these opportunities that my parents didn't have and knowing I have to appreciate that, that's what got me through the struggles, the obstacles and stuff."
Rojas, who has won national awards for his speeches and has a grade point average above 4.8, cast a wide net when it came to applying for college.
One by one, the acceptance letters started arriving, and from Harvard to the University of Pennsylvania, all eight Ivy League schools offered him a space.
"They all came at the same time, I felt so bad for the mailman," Rojas said.
So far he has visited Princeton and Yale is next. He hopes to pursue Latin American studies and law.
The principal of Fullerton High School said the school's diverse population— half the students are considered low income and more than 60 percent are Hispanic — is central to its success.
"We have a student body that is very diverse, very representative of our country," Principal Rani Goyal said. "Maybe people don't realize and that that diversity actually makes us that much better,"