PHOENIX — Juan Irigoyen Castillo’s hard work paid off.
The Trevor Browne High School senior is one of a select group of students accepted to an Ivy League university.
The 18-year-old received acceptance letters from seven universities, including Princeton, Yale, and Stanford, and was awarded $2.5 million dollars in scholarships.
Over the weekend, Irigoyen Castillo toured Stanford and on Monday committed to attending the university, his dream school.
“It’s like a dream come true,” he said.
Irigoyen Castillo is the valedictorian of his class. While it was his academics that have made his accomplishment possible, he credits his family for their support and guidance.
“My family has been there for me, and I can’t imagine doing any of it without them,” Irigoyen Castillo said.
He admitted it was his older sister who motivated him to go to college, but a close friend attending Yale University pushed him to aim high academically.
“We are very proud of him,” his mother Gladys Castillo Turrubiates said. “I’ve always ingrained the importance of education to my kids. I’ve taught them there are a lot of opportunities so they can have a great future and accomplish their goals.”
Irigoyen Castillo is an avid soccer player, earning many medals and awards while at the North Scottsdale Sandsharks Soccer Club and during his four years in high school.
He is currently the president of his school’s MEChA chapter (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán; Chican@ Student Movement of Aztlán), an organization that seeks to promote Chicano unity and empowerment through political action.
The high school senior was also a part of the STEP College Prep program and LEDA (Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America), which he said helped him prepare and get ready for college.
He is a product of the Cartwright School District, having attended Starlight Park Elementary School and Estrella Middle School.
“Juan is a great example of a beautiful student who wants to give a new face to our community, that wants to give better hopes for our students,” said Ms. Guadalupe Meza, who has known Irigoyen Castillo for six years and taught him for three.
The valedictorian was accepted to Stanford University, Princeton University, Yale University, Pomona College, Davidson College, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University.
While he admits he wasn’t always focused on going to college, “because I didn’t know what I was capable of,” Irigoyen Castillo hopes his story will inspire others not to cut themselves short, even when growing up in a community like Maryvale.
“I hope this motivates others to pursue a higher education wherever their dream may be,” he said. “The opportunities are there if you’re willing to take them, and work hard for them.”
Irigoyen Castillo was awarded the Gates full-ride scholarship and the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship where he will receive $55,000 per year for three years. Stanford University awarded him more than $90,000 per year.
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