Santa Fe High School senior Roman Vargas entered middle school without any expectation of ever attending college, but six years of Achievement Via Individual Determination (AVID) classes and rigorous academic opportunities taught him to set goals, collaborate with classmates and work toward achieving post-secondary success.
Vargas – a first-generation college student with a 4.2 GPA – is on his way toward making his dreams happen after winning a full-tuition Posse Foundation scholarship to attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS), a private liberal arts college in Geneva, New York, where he will major in history.
“This is a tremendous achievement for me because it is one of the most competitive scholarships in the country,” Vargas said. “I am excited to go to HWS because of its mission to create lives of consequence – to give back to the community, help others and make a difference. It’s a good fit, and my parents are very proud of me.”
The Posse Foundation is a national nonprofit that identifies students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential, but who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. It prepares students for higher education and careers in lucrative professions and supports them throughout their schooling.
As an AVID student, Vargas learned to pay close attention to detail, a skill that will help him in potential career paths as an archaeologist, museum curator or teacher. It was especially helpful while he was a photographer and writer for the yearbook staff at Santa Fe, which is an AVID National Demonstration School.
“I remember my editors going out of their way to check page after page, staying up for as long as necessary to make sure it was perfect,” Vargas said. “When you are committed to making something work, you give your best effort. These are skills that will stay with me forever.”
Vargas – who has been a Top 100 student and excelled in five honors and Advanced Placement classes – has also performed 200 hours of community service as a tutor and teacher’s assistant.
“Roman’s leadership skills on campus and in the classroom have made him a standout Chief from the beginning,” Principal Craig Campbell said. “We are proud of his accomplishments and the contributions he has made to Santa Fe. We wish him the best as he pursues his dreams to shape the future.”