Ubaldo Apolinar: A Student With A Dream

Tori Valdez, News Editor

On October 1, 2019 students across the United States had the opportunity to partake in the opening of the  Michael and Susan Dell Foundation scholarship application. Students had until December 1, 2019 to submit their applications in hopes of receiving financial aid from the Dell Scholarship. This past year, Selma High’s Advanced Via Individual Determination, “AVID” program, had ten senior applicants. 

The Dell Scholarship provides financial opportunities for students and families who are burdened with the costs of college while pursuing a degree and career. The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation understands the challenges students face and in turn offer a $20,000 scholarship that also provides recipients with a four-year warrantied laptop and an annual $500 value of Chegg credits for textbook purchases. 

The Dell scholarship, being nationally renowned, has an acceptance rate of 500 students per year.

The AVID program, run by Mrs. Manter, prepares the associated students to apply to this specific scholarship due to the various opportunities and successes it could lead to in their futures. Students are only eligible to apply for the Dell Scholarship if they meet certain requirements. This means that students must have participated in an approved college readiness program during their eleventh and twelfth grades, be on track to graduate in their current academic year from an accredited high school, demonstrate a need for financial assistance, be eligible to receive a federal Pell Grant in the first year of college, plan to enroll in a full time accredited higher education institution in the pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in the fall directly following high school graduation, and earn a minimum of a 2.4 GPA. 

“AVID provides a college going environment for students who have the individual determination to continue their education after high school,” said Mrs. Manter, the 15-year AVID program advisor. “Most are first generation college students, who have the desire to attend a university but need the support on how to get there. The AVID class becomes like a family where you are surrounded by peers who support and celebrate each other along the way.” 

Due to the amount of generous aid the scholarship gives, applicants must commit to the multiple required steps in order to receive the benefit of their hard work. Once all the applications are submitted, the Dell Foundation begins an elimination process by carefully selecting semifinalists. Among these students was Selma High’s very own senior, Ubaldo Apolinar.   

“I was announced as a semifinalist on December 10th,” stated Apolinar. “Although I felt hopeful, I was also afraid at the possibility of losing the second round, which came with more essays I had to write.” 

Apolinar was the only senior out of ten from Selma High that was admitted to the second round of scholarship eliminations, providing him with yet another opportunity to prove the worthiness of his determination and effort. 

“I was introduced to the scholarship from a young age when my brother won it during his high school career,” explained Apolinar. “When I was upon entering my junior year, my parents insisted that I join the AVID program in order to qualify for it.”

“At the end of his sophomore year, he came up to me and asked if he could join AVID because he wanted to go away to college,” shared Mrs. Manter. “Since the first day that Ubaldo joined my class, he has taken advantage of every opportunity to get him one step closer to his goal of attending a University.”

As a first-generation student, Ubaldo Apolinar knew that his family expected him to win the scholarship due to the fact that the benefits would affect him and his future. Acknowledging the weight of the situation, Apolinar knew that he must rely on his efforts and dedication, and use his daily hardships to triumph.

“My biggest fear was not winning the scholarship,” expressed Apolinar. “My parents have traditional beliefs, one of them being that men in the family work. My older brother had to work for our family, wrote about his experiences in the application, and won the scholarship. When he left for college, I inherited the work that he left behind and experienced much of the same struggles that he did. Realizing I was in a similar position, I would ponder these aspects as Mrs. Manter prepared and acquired the given scholarship questions. The questions were profound and entailed vulnerable topics that I wasn’t comfortable sharing in front of my class, leading me to purposely exclude stories and details that applied from my life.”

Despite experiencing feelings of distress during these situations, Apolinar later discovered these vulnerabilities to be strengths when accessing the scholarship application. Having discarded the discomfort of sharing his story without the appearance of his peers, Apolinar was able to write freely about his experiences facing daily adversity occuring in his life that ultimately heightened his chances.  

“When the application opened, I changed my responses at the last minute and submitted it without having anyone but myself having proofread it,” admitted Apolinar. “I felt that if anyone else made corrections to it, it would no longer be my essays.” 

While being a well rounded and extremely involved student, Apolinar also had many other responsibilities on top of completing the scholarship application and essays. 

As AVID stands for Advancement via Individual Determination which Ublado displays on a daily basis,” expressed Mrs. Manter. “Ubaldo goes above and beyond what is expected of him: He is committed to the rigorous schedule of band, he pushes himself academically through AP courses, when he can he works in the fields with his father and during lunch at school he works in the cafeteria. Everything that Ubaldo does is planned out and he keeps his future in mind when he makes a decision.” 

After putting in his best efforts in all aspects of his life, Apolinar received the exciting news on March 6.

“I found out that I won the scholarship through email two hours before midnight while I was working on my AP calculus homework,” excitingly stated Apolinar. “AVID helped me achieve this success by allowing me to apply. If it wasn’t for the program, I wouldn’t have qualified and wouldn’t have known as much about scholarships and colleges as I do now. Mrs. Manter led this program and also filled out my letter of recommendation. I know that her letter was one of the significant factors that led to this success.”

The now prestigious Dell Scholar was one of 500 students to receive the scholarship from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. The Dell scholarship has made it possible for Ubaldo Apolinar to attend UC Irvine in the fall semester of 2020, where he will be majoring in Business Administration. The Dell Scholarship has allowed Apolinar to cover essential expenses like housing while avoiding a loan during freshman year.

Like Ubaldo Apolinar, Selma High students should consider taking advantage of the AVID program on campus. As it immensely helped Apolinar take charge of his future opportunities, other students have also greatly benefited from the program.

“AVID encourages each student to take a rigorous course schedule while providing the support through tutorials in the AVID elective class,” conveyed Mrs. Manter. “I have had a total of four of my AVID students become Dell Scholars. AVID provides the students with the gift of choice. Just this year alone my AVID seniors were accepted to UC Irvine, Santa Barbara, Riverside, Merced, San Diego, Davis along with CSU Bakersfield, Fresno, Chico, East Bay, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Monterey Bay, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, and Sonoma including private colleges in California, Oregon, Arizona, Louisiana, Colorado. Also the Honor’s Programs at both Fresno City & Reedley. We also had an alternate for The Smittcamp Family Honors College at Fresno State.”

The Class of 2020 AVID students have proven to achieve many feats, with Ubaldo Apolinar as one of the highest. Selma High recognizes and congratulates him and his future endeavors. 

“I want to thank Mrs. Manter for giving me the opportunity to join AVID which allowed me to apply for it,” stated Apolinar. 

I couldn’t be more proud of him,” proudly expressed Mrs. Manter. “Ubaldo is a very humble young man and I don’t think he realizes just how awesome he really is. I can not wait to see all the amazing things Ubaldo will accomplish during his time at UC Irvine!”