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Students Accepted To Ivy League Schools

English in a (Ivy) League of its own

Lynn Item -Brianna McCadden

This fall, not one, not two, but five Lynn English High School students will be enrolling in Ivy League schools.

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Photo above: Lynn English seniors, from left, Tanvir Haque, Javier Junior Patricio Santo, Carliana Mejia Ortiz, Axel Velasquez, and Adam El Qanoun will all be attending Ivy League schools next year.
(Photos by Spenser Hasak)

Carliana Mejia Ortiz

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Carliana Mejia Ortiz will be attending the University of Pennsylvania this fall for nursing.

She said that going to an Ivy League wasn’t always part of her dream, although nursing was. Mejia Ortiz said it was the programs she was in, as well as the support from her family and peers, that helped her notice her potential and get into the school.

Mejia Ortiz said that there has definitely been a lot of pressure throughout her journey.

“It was a lot to deal with at the beginning,” Mejia Ortiz said. “As a first-generation student, you do a lot of it by yourself.”

She said she didn’t know if she would get in or not, but took the leap of faith.

“It was the emotional support and mentorship that helped with my success of getting into an Ivy League,” Mejia Ortiz said.

Some of these programs, she said, included Thrive Scholars and La Vida Scholars. She also is currently the CEO at Harvest Hope and Empower Scholars Initiative.

She mentioned that she had first gotten rejected by Penn and didn’t match into the program she originally applied to, but didn’t give up, saying that another rejection wouldn’t hurt her.

Mejia Ortiz said that she is open to different fields of nursing, but plans to look into being a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse after this. She said that she herself was an NICU baby.

Axel Velasquez

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Axel Velasquez will also be going to Penn for nursing.

He said he always wanted to go to a good college and follow his dream career. His first dream was in physical training because he wanted to help people out.

“As time passed, and I started getting into community service and helping people out, it impacted me greatly to want to go to nursing school,” Velasquez said. “And it opened my eyes to the great impact you can make in vulnerable moments.”

Velasquez has had lot of leadership roles in his middle- and high-school career. He has been a soccer captain, president of the National Honor Society, and a lifeguard for the YMCA and Camp Fire North Shore.

He cares a lot about giving back to his community. In just middle school, he said, he performed 75 hours of community service, just to beat it in high school, doing 200 hours.

What stood out on his application, Velasquez said, was his role in the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program.

“They saw potential in me and allowed me to take so many opportunities, like becoming a peer mediator,” Velasquez said.

Velasquez said that he plans to become a nurse practitioner after college. He also hopes to give back to the community, with plans to give out more scholarships and to fund students to achieve higher education.

Javier Patricio Santo

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Javier Patricio Santo will be attending Brown University for biochemistry and pharmaceutical science with a concentration in synthetic chemistry and public policy, as well as pre-med and pre-law.

He said his first dream was to become a physician, but he didn’t always know he’d take the Ivy League route.

“It wasn’t until junior year and Thrive Scholars to show me that I’m my own limitation,” Patricio Santo said. “I learned that I had the ability just like everyone else applying.”

Patricio Santo said that what stood out about his application was the fact that he was constantly giving back to the community.

“I have three nonprofits and partnered with other nonprofits. I’ve also participated in fundraisers and community outreach programs and mentorships up until now,” Patricio Santo said.

The three nonprofits are Harvest Hope, Empower Scholars Initiative, and Wizard Compass Initiative.

Patricio Santo wants to focus on disparities in health care and the social side of it. He will enter Brown’s program in liberal medical education and spend the next eight years there, before spending the next three at Harvard Law.

Tanvir Haque

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Tanvir Haque will be attending Harvard University in the fall for computer science.

He said he didn’t always know he wanted to go there and that his dream was to always be proud of himself.

“I always wanted to make the most of myself. And then I wanted to dream bigger as I got older and decided to try for an Ivy League,” Haque said.

He said what helped him steer away from the pressure behind it all was taking it one step at a time.

“I sought help and advice from advisors, my cousin, sister, and it helped relieve a lot of pressure,” Haque said. “It’s how I dealt with all the stress.”

Haque mentioned that he currently has a nonprofit called Hayton Incorporated and gives back to local charities. He said his mission is to help others who grew up in similar conditions as him.

After Harvard, Haque said he has even more big dreams, like helping others gain knowledge on coding, computer science, and robotics.

Adam El Qanoun

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Adam El Qanoun will be attending Dartmouth College in the fall for biochemical engineering.

He said he didn’t always know he wanted to go to an Ivy and said that his first dream was to become Spiderman, who went to MIT. This dream then turned into wanting to become a physicist — to make spiderwebs, of course. He later wanted to be an astronaut, an engineer, and a doctor.

“I mixed everything to get biochemical engineering,” El Qanoun said.

He mentioned that for him, it was never about the destination, it was about how he was getting there by just trying his best. He said he was always striving for what these colleges were looking for.

What stood out on his application, El Qanoun said, was his background in karate. He mentioned that he had done it since elementary school and taught classes and events, and even scouted out tournaments and events. El Qanoun said that this helped show his leadership through all the ways he helped students there.

El Qanoun has many hopes and dreams that he will continue to pursue with his degree, along with an immunology and computer science minor. He says that he wants to go pre-med and that he’ll even eventually open up a firm and business to keep his mind going. Then, maybe he’ll retire as Spiderman.