Education Briefs: Archdiocesan high school students earn national Hispanic recognition; Duchense wins field hockey state championship

November 13, 2018

Archdiocesan high school students earn national Hispanic recognition

HOUSTON — High school seniors from around the Archdiocese earned recognition through the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) based on their scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

Superintendent of Catholic Schools Debra Haney said she is proud of the students and thankful to the teachers and schools for supporting them in their endeavors.

“For the Archdiocese, to have students recognized by NHRP makes us proud,” she said. “To have students that are excelling at such remarkable academic accomplishments and being recognized at the national level is truly commendable.”

Recognized seniors include Caitlyn Cano, Eli Irvine, Zyanya Martinez and Thomas Rider from St. John XXIII College Preparatory in Katy; Noah Cortinas from O’Connell College Preparatory in Galveston; Norma Ferrel and Olivia Ochoa from Incarnate Word Academy; Mia Vassilakis from Frassati Catholic High School in Spring; Elena Quintero from St. Pius X High School; Andrea Tager Ballesca and Nicole Sagarnaga from Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart; Eduardo Salas of Cristo Rey College Preparatory; and Nathaniel Allen from Strake Jesuit College Preparatory. Recognized from St. Agnes Academy were Angelica Del Valle, Grace Gogola, Jordan Ham, Sophia Hoefner, Angela Marinovic, Caroline Noyola, Ann Piekielniak, Naimeh Roman, Gabriela Sagel, Mary Sinclair, Madeline “Isabel” Smith, Logan Ulery and Isabella Zambrano. Students at St. Thomas High School that were recognized were Armando Amador, Joseph Chavez, Jordan Ham, Brandon Jackson, Plato Pappas and Kristoph Sayavedra. 

Jennifer Boyles, director of counseling at St. Pius X High School, said it is an academic honor to show recognition for outstanding performance on PSAT.

“It is something to be added to the college application and can help with admission to colleges as well as potential for scholarship recognition,” she said.

Boyles said these students are among the top 5,000 of the 250,000 highest-scoring Hispanic and Latino 11th-grade students who take the PSAT/NMSQT. Students who received this recognition scored in the top 2.5 percent among Hispanic and Latino test takers. These students are from the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Mariana Islands and the Marshall Islands, as well as U.S. citizens attending schools abroad.

Director of College Counseling Justin Matias at St. John XXIII College Preparatory said many colleges and universities will grant scholarship opportunities to NHRP designation students upon admission.

For example, Texas State University awards $2,000 per year for four years, totaling $8,000; Texas A&M University offers $3,500 per year for four years, totaling $14,000; and the University of Alabama–Huntsville offers a full tuition scholarship that includes stipends that cover meals and housing expenses.

To qualify for the recognition, students must: take the PSAT/NMSQT in October of their junior year; be at least one quarter Hispanic or Latino descent and identify as Hispanic/Latino on their PSAT/NMSQT answer sheet; achieve the minimum required PSAT/NMSQT cutoff score as set yearly by the College Board; and achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher by the middle of their 11th-grade year.

In Sports: Field hockey team wins Duchesne’s first-ever team state championship

HOUSTON — Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart’s varsity field hockey won the TAPPS 6A State Tournament with a 6 to 1 final game.

The team became the first team sport in school history to win a state championship after defeating All Saints Episcopal School at the state tournament in Dallas Oct. 27. Carol Longo, a senior who has been playing field hockey at Duchesne since she was in middle school, was named the MVP.

“We’ve worked so hard this entire season,” said Head Coach Jenna Allen. “The girls knew they could win if they played with heart and hustle, and they did just that. The entire Duchesne community is so proud of this team and I am lucky to have such a great group of girls to coach.”
Duchesne faced local rival St. Agnes Academy in a dramatic overtime semi-final game that ended 1 to 1 in regular time. In overtime play, junior center midfielder Ariel Schumacher assisted Longo’s game-winning goal.

After falling to All Saints in last year’s championship match, Duchesne returned with many veteran players this year and a new head coach. The team had a successful run leading up to post-season play.

The TAPPS conference named several of the Duchesne players among the top athletes in the state, most notably Longo who plays forward and is ranked as the No. 3 TAPPS athlete for goals scored. Longo scored a total of 22 goals during the season. Other notable playmakers include junior Sarita Arsham, who led the team’s defense in saves, and juniors Ariel Schumacher and CeeCee Van Pelt, both center midfielders, who are two of the team’s all around top playmakers.

The team is young with only four seniors who will graduate this year. The rest of the players will be eligible to return, setting the Chargers up for another successful season next year. Schumacher is already committed, as a junior, to play Division I field hockey at Lafayette College in 2020 after she graduates.