By CRAIG ALANIZ
Alexa Ocean Ray and Sabrina Chavez, Port Isabel High School seniors were selected for two prestigious awards last month.
Ray said she was notified she had received the Bill Gates scholarship two weeks ago after being selected as one of the 2,000 nationwide finalists.
“My parents were ecstatic and I was happy too,” Ray said.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program selects 1,000 talented students each year to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice.
Ray said she will be studying at the University of Texas-Austin because of their renowned radio-television-film program. She said she has had an interest in digital media since she was in the seventh grade.
Austin, the center of Texas film and music festivals was a contributing factor in her selection of a university. Ray said she will miss the close knit feel of Port Isabel, but welcomes the new experience.
Alexa is ranked 13 in her class and will begin her first semester at UT at the end of August.
Sabrina Chavez, a senior at Port Isabel High School, was admitted to the inaugural A PRIME-TIME program at UTPA.
The A PRIME-TIME program is a partnership between three undergraduate institutions UT-Brownsville, UT-El Paso, and UT Pan American and two medical schools UT Medical School in Houston, and UT Medical Branch in Galveston.
The program is a B.S./M.D. program designed to decrease the time needed to earn a medical degree to as little as six years.
Chavez said admission to the program was extremely competitive. She said only 15 students were selected for the program that puts her on the fast track to one of the UT system medical schools.
“I am excited to start, but I still have not decided on what part of the medical field I would like to pursue,” Chavez said.
Chavez said she has had some volunteer experience by shadowing at the P.I. Clinic. She said being Valedictorian also helped strengthen her application.
Chavez said she will miss the community, but is close enough to visit her two siblings at any time. Her mother is Mary Chavez an assistant principal for the school district.
“I am really excited to participate in this program, God has really blessed me,” Chavez said.