Reyes, who also attended Baldwin Park Unified’s Margaret Heath Elementary and Sierra Vista Junior High, said he learned about QuestBridge from his high school counselor. The Palo Alto-based nonprofit helps exceptional, low-income youths achieve college and career dreams.
“I was shocked. I had written all the essays and done all the work, but I didn’t expect to get it,” Reyes said. “It just seemed like something too tremendous. I just didn’t think someone like me, who has accomplished so little, would get it.”
What Reyes defines as little, others call extraordinary.
Over the last four years, he has taken 14 Advanced Placement courses – three in sophomore year, five in junior year and six this year. The classes include Calculus AB and BC, Biology, Chemistry, Statistics, Psychology, U.S. History, Spanish Language and English Literature.
For the first eight subjects, he received six perfect scores of 5 on AP exams and two scores of 4, earning him the status of National AP Scholar – the AP program’s highest honor.
He is also earning a 4.71 GPA, is on track to be Sierra Vista’s valedictorian, and participates in Sierra Vista’s Link Crew mentoring program and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) club.
“Jeronimo represents the very best of Baldwin Park Unified – he’s passionate and dedicated to making a difference,” Superintendent Froilan N. Mendoza said. “We are tremendously proud of everything he has achieved so far, and look forward to his accomplishments to come.”
Reyes wants to be a doctor, a surgeon and eventually surgeon general of the United States.
“I figure it’s the most direct way to help people. I’m mostly focusing on becoming a surgeon/family doctor,” he said. “I would like someday to become surgeon general. Past surgeon generals have been able create social change and help end medical and social stigmas.”
Reyes said he would like to address the issues of gender discrimination in the national debate on abortion.
QuestBridge’s program works by matching applicants with partner universities. As part of the program, Reyes applied to multiple colleges through QuestBridge and committed to attend the college selected for him. Over the last 23 years, the group has served 50,000 students with programs that range from college prep activities to conferences and scholarships.
BPUSD_JREYES_1: Sierra Vista High School senior Jeronimo Leonardo Reyes – a National AP Scholar who plans to become a doctor – will attend Washington and Lee University in Virginia in fall on a full-ride QuestBridge Scholarship worth more than $200,000.