Itzel Luna, a Sylmar senior, has been accepted to five Ivy League schools and Stanford. (Photo by Itzel Luna)
Then, on Tuesday, Itzel Luna found out she had been accepted to not one, not two, but five Ivy League Universities — Harvard, Brown, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia.
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“I was just absolutely shocked,” Luna, a senior at Daniel Pearlman Magnet High School, said. “All I could do was just keep checking, because I didn’t even know, like I couldn’t process it.”
Luna, whose family is from Mexico, will be a first generation college student, though she’s not quite sure where she wants to spend the next four years.
“I have no idea,” she said.
But she knows she wants to major in communications and political science. During her sophomore year, she covered the 2019 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers’ strike for the student newspaper.
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“She’s been working hard for it since the ninth grade,” Adriana Chavira, Luna’s journalism teacher, said. “I’ve had her every single year since then, and she’s very determined, persistent.”
Luna’s school counselor, Martina Torres, said the pandemic has made it even more difficult for students applying to college with college entry exams postponed for the incoming class and admission rates at record lows.
“Students have really had to rely on the rigor of courses that they’ve chosen to take and the expansion of all of their activities outside the classroom,” Torres said.
And while Luna said it has been hard adapting to remote learning, that hard work has paid off, though it has given her a new deadline. She has until May 3 to make her decision.
“I’m still trying to figure it out,” she said.
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According to Luna’s high school principal, she’s the only student that they know of who has been accepted to an Ivy League school.