North Central Alumna – My journey from a YES Prep student desk to a local TV station news desk

By Ilse M. Gonzalez 

Ilse Gonzalez holding UH flag at Senior Signing Day

FINDING A BETTER OPTION  

I was born in Houston, Texas and raised by my dad and mom in a Northside Houston home. My dad, my brother, my sister, and I all went to the same elementary school but the neighborhood wasn’t the safest nor was the middle school across the street the best option to get us ready for high school and college, so we moved. My parents had heard of YES Prep and what they stood for, so they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ensure my brother not only got into college, but was prepared for it.  

My brother was part of the first class of YES Prep North Central (Class of 2010). He started off in the warehouse campus, which was the first location, before they moved into the Aldine area. It was evident to my parents and brother that going to YES Prep was not the easy way out. It was long school days, even longer nights doing assignments, daily homework, group projects, college visits, college fairs, and meetings with college counselors (among many other things). What was also evident though, was that all of the hard work and effort during middle school and high school would be worth it. They saw this the moment he started receiving college acceptance letters and when he got to walk across the stage after graduating from the University of Houston in 2014. 

FINDING MY PATH  

I started at YES Prep North Central in 2007 as a middle schooler and graduated in 2014. I’ve always been ambitious, competitive (the healthy kind), and dedicated but something about the environment of my campus and the teachers that I had made me work even harder to get to where I am today. I would constantly work towards honor roll, applied for scholarships, joined student council, and became a school ambassador, all because I knew I wanted to leave the state for college.  

When my senior year rolled around I applied for six colleges in California and two in Texas. I was so sure I would leave out of state to my dream college but little did I know there was a greater plan for me. While I did get accepted to Pepperdine University in California, I decided to stay and go to the University of Houston (UH). Even though it wasn’t my original plan, on Senior Signing Day I told myself I was going to make the best of it, and that’s exactly what I did. 

During my freshman year in college I knew that I wanted to work in the media industry, so I got involved with the organizations on campus. I applied for scholarships, met with local media professionals, and attended workshops. At the beginning of my sophomore year I was given the opportunity to work in the marketing department at Telemundo Houston as a brand ambassador. During the short time being there a position opened in the newsroom, and well the rest is history. I was working and going to school at the University of Houston full time, which was a huge challenge, but I knew with dedication and focus I could graduate early to focus on my career. In 2017 I was able to graduate with a major in Broadcast Journalism and minor in Spanish!  

CAREER AT TELEMUNDO 

I have now been at Telemundo Houston for three years. During these years I have received two GEM (Going the Extra Mile) awards from NBCUniversal, covered Hurricane Harvey, the Houston Rodeo, a World Series parade for a professional sports team, election nights, mass shootings, political debates, high profile cases in court, funerals, coordinated for special weather programs and planned day-to-day news coverage in the Houston area to name a few.  

Just recently, I also won three Lone Star Emmy’s for the work I have done which has been the most special thing to happen in my career so far. I am thankful for how everything played out, the teachers that have believed in me, the values that YES Prep has instilled in me and the opportunities that have come my way. I honestly don’t know what is next for me. At this moment I am just focused on enjoying where I am at in life, growing in the position that I am in, and ready for whatever life has in store for me! 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Ilse M. Gonzalez graduated from YES Prep North Central in 2014 and went on to the University of Houston where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism . She is currently an Assignment/Planning Editor at Telemundo Houston, where she takes on the role of scouting and pitching story ideas, planning and executing team coverage during big events in Houston and surrounding areas, assisting with the presence of the station on social media, and helping producers during newscasts and special programs. In her free time, Gonzalez enjoys photography and exploring new places in and around the city of Houston. 

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