Seniors Score Big

It has been a few years since multiple Terrell High School students have earned one of the prestigious awards bestowed by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation. But that streak has come to a halt thanks to high school seniors Gage Soule, Yitsel Ramirez and Erick Reyes. 

Gage, who has been named a National Merit Commended Scholar, is one of only 34,000 students across the country to earn this honor. Yitsel is one of only 5,000 students to be named a National Hispanic Scholar by the College Board.  Her classmate, Erick Reyes, also earned this same honor in addition to earning the National Rural and Small Town award.  The recognitions are based on a student’s junior year PSAT test scores with about 1.5 million juniors taking the test each year.

All three students are actively involved at Terrell High School.  Yitsel helps to run the school’s weekly podcast and works the camera to help live stream school events.  Both Gage and Erick are members of the school’s robotics team and have participated in several regional and national robotics competitions across the country. 

“When I found out about the award I was really surprised, but also proud of myself,” shared Yitsel.  Gage expressed similar sentiments. “I was really surprised, too,” he said. “I didn’t think I actually qualified.” 

Erick, who is also on track to receive his Associate Degree from Trinity Valley Community College next May, shared that he has felt really supported by his teachers and counselors. “I am grateful for the support I have received,” he shared. “My teachers and counselors have made it so much easier for my classmates and I to apply to college and for scholarships.” 

Four years ago, Terrell ISD made the financial commitment to begin paying the $18 exam fee for every high school junior to take the PSAT test.  The exam, which is administered during the school day, provides students not only with the opportunity to earn national recognition, but also to earn college scholarship dollars.   

Case in point, Erick has already earned $132,000 in college scholarships, Gage has earned $338,000, and Yitsel has earned an impressive $482,000 in college scholarships and has already been accepted into six colleges. 

The investment the district is making to create a college-going and career-focused culture is starting to pay off.  And, Yitsel, Gage and Erick are just the first of many students who will one day score big.