Senior Spotlights at 2019 Senior Signing Day

Breanna Kersee holding Prairie View A&M pennant on SSD stageOn Tuesday, May 21, 2019, YES Prep celebrated its 2019 Senior Signing Day at the NRG Stadium.

Considered YES Prep’s “best day of the year,” 1,299 seniors from 11 campuses stood at center stage to declare their college of choice in front of their family and the entire YES Prep community.

This year, the event spotlighted a senior from each campus. Nella Garcia Urban, Chief Program Officer, and Phil Wright, Chief Schools Officer, shared their accomplishments and the impact they are already making from the Senior Signing Day stage.


Jeanie Fund, YES Prep West studentYES Prep West – Jeanie Fung
Jeanie is at the top of her class, was accepted to 11 universities, is an IMPACT scholar at seven universities, is a prestigious Dell Scholar, received four fully-funded college scholarships, is known as the head librarian at West, studied abroad in China, and is the President of the Asian Cultures Club and founder of the environmental club, the Green Team. Jeanie declared she’ll be attending Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.

Pablo Rodriguez, YES Prep studentYES Prep North Central – Pablo Rodriguez
Pablo is an advocate for others and is a warrior for equality and strong supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. Pablo is the captain of the cross-country team, a champion debater, and founder of countless clubs and organizations including the Booster Club. In all ways, his passion for learning and education is infectious! Pablo declared he’ll be attending Northwestern University in Illinois.

Breanna Kersee, YES Prep studentYES Prep Southeast – Breanna Kersee
Breanna is known by her teachers for her grit and determination, and she has shown incredible growth over the course of her high school career—increasing her GPA every single year. She is a leader in both the photography club and in the Sisterhood Group, and every single time Breanna was faced with a challenge, she chose to fight. Breanna declared she’ll be attending Prairie View A&M University.

Bethany Hernandez - YES Prep Southwest studentYES Prep Southwest – Bethany Hernandez

Bethany is a leader in the classroom, on the volleyball court, as a student ambassador, and as a volunteer at Ben Taub hospital. She is committed to becoming a medical professional so that she can continue to positively impact the lives of those in need for many years to come through health care. Bethany declared that she’ll be attending Texas State University.

Ricky CYES Prep Gulfton – Ricky Caceras
Ricky is the embodiment of a contributing member of a family-oriented school. As the oldest of eight siblings, five of which are at Gulfton, he is determined to set a positive example for his sisters, as he prepares to be the first to go to college. He is the go-to chambelan for the quinceneras at Gulfton, and he is beloved by everyone who has the privilege to know him. Ricky declared that he will be attending Texas A&M University San Antonio.

Merelyn Aparicio, YES Prep East End studentYES Prep East End – Merelyn Aparicio
Merelyn sees beyond immediate hardship and is committed to persevering. She was displaced after Hurricane Harvey and yet she persisted and achieved academically, giving her all to every assignment no matter how small. She is the model of resilience and fortitude for her younger siblings. When asked about her journey to graduation, she said “I want people to know that there are no excuses for achieving greatness.” Merelyn declared that she will be attending University of Houston Main Campus.

Kennedy Bonds, YES Prep studentYES Prep North Forest – Kennedy Bonds
Kennedy has a driving motivation to both serve and succeed. She is a LEGEND Ambassador and Senior Committee Leader. Her leadership and cultural awareness spurred the creation of the YES Prep North Forest Black Student Association where she is unapologetically committed to equity. Kennedy declared that she’ll be attending Prairie View A&M University.

Cinthia Jimenez, YES Prep studentYES Prep Brays Oaks – Cinthia Jimenez
Cinthia is the definition of an advocate. She is unapologetically Latina, a Dreamer, and a strong supporter of the LGBT+ community at Brays. She has served as the Vice President for FIEL, an advocacy group for undocumented families, and serves as the president for the Brays Oaks Gay-Straight Alliance. Finally, Cinthia is a Dream US Scholarship recipient! Cinthia declared that she’ll be attending the University of Houston Main Campus.

Mirajah JorgensenYES Prep Northside – Mirajah Jorgensen
Mirajah is as involved at school as she is in her community. She served on the Youth Advisory Council for My Brother’s Keeper. She spends her summers volunteering at LBJ Hospital as a Harris Health Junior Volunteer. At school, she plays varsity volleyball, serves as a student ambassador, and is a Senator of Student Council. Mirajah declared that she’ll be attending the University of Houston Main Campus.

Guadalupe Rosa Alcantara, Fifth WardYES Prep Fifth Ward – Guadalupe Rosa Alcantara
Guadalupe has been the president of the Fifth Ward Kiwanis Service Club for two years and has completed over 300 community service hours in her high school career. She also participated in The Woods Project outdoor leadership program, where she traveled to Glacier National Park and is headed to the Apostle Islands to spend two weeks practicing her outdoor leadership skills. Guadalupe declared that she’ll be attending George Washington University in Washington D.C.

Jose Laguna, YES Prep Northbrook High School seniorYES Prep Northbrook High – Jose Lagunas
Jose has always been a leader on campus and always represents Northbrook well. He is a proactive, dependable student, who consistently and selflessly leads and volunteers. He’s a gifted spoken word artist and an IMPACT scholar. He’s an advocate for immigrant rights and restorative justice. Jose declared that he’ll be attending Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania.


To read about the 2019 Senior Signing Day and view pictures from the event, click here.

History of Senior Signing Day
Senior Signing Day is YES Prep’s take on a ceremony that traditionally is reserved for star athletes playing big-time Division 1 sports. While those are impressive accomplishments, YES Prep believes the accomplishments of our seniors deserve the same, if not more, attention because each one of them represents living, breathing, proof of the hypothesis we set out to prove back in 1998: any student, regardless of zip code, ethnicity, or income level, can graduate from high school and can attend and complete a four year college, when given access to the same opportunities and the same resources that students receive in great private schools and in great suburban public schools.

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