Houston ISD Awards Stephanie Salazar $5,000 Scholarship; Wisdom Class of 2018 Earns School Record $14.8 Million in Scholarship Money


Wisdom HS News

(L-R) Grenita Lathan, Stephanie Salazar, Anne Sung

David Fanucchi, Journalism Adviser

Wisdom High School Senior Stephanie Salazar was awarded a $5,000 scholarship by Houston ISD Interim Superintendant Grenita Lathan and the Board of Education. Lathan was on hand Friday to present Salazar with a check.
A member of EMERGE, Stephanie is in the top 10% of the Wisdom HS graduating class of 2018 and will be attending Texas A&M University. She faced an enormous amount of obstacles this year with family obligations and time management, yet she continued to persevere academically.
“Despite the many hardships her family has had to endure, she always came to school with a pleasant disposition and a smile on her face,” Wisdom HS College Access Coordinator Keisha Smith-Davis said. “Stephanie is diligent in her commitment to excellence and has great leadership skills. It is her ability to take trials and turn them into triumphs that will carry her through to her next phase in life, including pursuing a post-secondary education at A&M.”

Wisdom HS News
Stephanie, with her mother

Salazar’s first obstacle occurred when Stephanie’s father suffered double kidney failure the second semester of her junior year, so money became super tight in her household. Her mom does not work, because one of her brothers is mentally and physically disabled, and her two older siblings are both undocumented, which makes it harder for them to find work.
Due to all of that, Salazar began working as a cashier at a local Dollar Store over the past summer before her senior year, and became the sole financial provider for her family. Working over 40 plus hours each week, Salazar pays the rent and other household bills, and provides her family money for food and her father’s medical bills.

Wisdom HS News
Salazar speaks to a member of the Houston media

“I am so grateful and humble that they chose me for this award,” said Salazar. “They are many students here at Wisdom who have personal struggles, but I know that I will be able to put this money to great use in college. It is amazing.”
Salazar is still completing credit appeals and Grad Lab work to recover absences and credits, because she has missed so many regular school hours trying to manage her heavy responsibilities. Unlike most students who work to save for college, Salazar does not have that luxury. The financial burden placed on her has caused her GPA to drop, and the struggle to meet her schoolwork deadlines and obligations have become extremely overwhelming.
“Stephanie continues to exemplify scholarly characteristics of an upcoming college freshman determined to achieve greatness,” Wisdom HS Principal Jonathan Trinh said. “Stephanie is strong-willed and determined to go to college, and her family supports her decision to leave their home to pursue an education.”
Smith-Davis also announced that the Wisdom High School graduating Class of 2018 has earned a school record $14.8 Million worth of scholarship money for college tuition – which is $4 million more than the Class of 2017 earned.