Top scholarships for two high school students in Delaware Co.

March 20, 2013 3:50:50 PM PDT
A Delaware County high school is buzzing with excitement. It has just learned that a pair of its students has won full scholarships to college.

The school is Sun Valley High in Aston, Pa.

The organization that provided the scholarships is QuestBridge, a non-profit organization that gives high-achieving, low-income students the opportunity to attend some of the best colleges and universities in the nation.

Every year, thousands of high school students apply to QuestBridge's National College Match program.

This year there were 383 finalists from around the country, and two Sun Valley seniors were among them.

17-year-old Josh Miller and 18-year-old Grace Perez will both receive full rides to the colleges of their choice.

Many of Grace's relatives, including her mother, live in the Philippines. Grace came to the United States when she was six.

All are ecstatic about her award.

"We were calling relatives all night, and we were probably jumping up and down screaming for an hour straight," she said.

Josh and his family are no less thrilled.

"After all the hard work I've been through and all the support I've received, I'm here. And it feels great," he said.

They began the process of applying for Questbridge as juniors last February.

Today they signed their letters of intent: Grace to the University of Southern California, where she'll major in chemistry, hoping to become a pharmacist; and Josh, to the University of Chicago, to major in political science.

"They have bright futures ahead of them," said Sun Valley Principal Pete Donaghy, "and they're going to make Sun Valley real proud in the future."

Josh says he learned the value of education by watching his parents work with his autistic brother.

"If he could rise above his mental and some physical disabilities, then I know that I could do plenty of amazing things with my education," he said.

"It's kind of an equalizer for everyone," said Grace. "It gives everyone the opportunity to become whatever they are, no matter where you come from or how much you have or don't have."