Belizean student heads to Harvard!
Saturday, April 9th, 2016
In the United States, many elite Ivy League universities like Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Stanford are dream schools for many high school students. For Belizean Angel Navidad, the future looks very bright as he will be living the reality of the American dream.
Navidad graduated from Bishop Martin High School in Orange Walk in 2013 and St. John’s College in 2015. He excelled in distinct achievements, including winning the Sagicor Visionary Challenge, a ‘STEM’ (science, technology, engineering, and math) regional competition. During the challenge, he was the team leader for the project called “Coconuts for Life”, and the Coconut Ecology Park impressed judges like Russlynn Ali, head of the XQ Super School project. Navidad then traveled to Barbados to represent Belize and “Coconuts for Life” took first place in the challenge.
Prior to graduating from St. Johns College, Navidad had the option to take the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate to attend Oxford University in the United Kingdom or take the Suite of Assessments (SAT) for US based universities. He decided to take the SAT and applied to smaller colleges and more accredited universities in the US. To his pleasant surprise, he was recently accepted into Harvard University located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “I am fortunate to be accepted to this prestigious college. Harvard has been generous to me. Even if I didn’t get accepted, I had a backup plan,” said Navidad. Harvard is offering Navidad an all-expense paid flight, tuition, room and board.
In 2013, Navidad gave journalism a shot by doing an internship at The San Pedro Sun. After a period of time, Angel followed his heart and decided that news reporting was not his passion. He felt that fate was leading him to biology and science. In third form, he started doing research on a well-known plant “sorosi” and its positive effects on health. Due to the lack of resources here in Belize, his research was constrained and was conducted only through clinical research studies. His biochemistry work has even encompassed the Belize Barrier Reef and the Maya culture is a major interest for him too.
Like many students, inspirational individuals contribute to their academic career. “My mom always made sure I put education as my top priority. Although she was a single parent, she took time to encourage me and pushed me to do all of my homework on time,” said Navidad. He also mentioned that his high school teacher played an integral role in his educational success. “Mrs. Shakira Gonzalez was the first person to take me under her wing. Because of her, I did the sorosi research, projects in Barbados, science fairs, and got accepted into St. John’s College. Also, the whole community from Bishop Martin helped me finance my exams,” said Angel.
Angel believes he will be an asset to Harvard, even though the idea of winter has him concerned. Upon moving to Massachusetts, he will complete a summer internship and attend an orientation at Harvard. He plans to study either biology or biochemistry, but is not sure. Fortunately he won’t have to declare a major until his sophomore year. Navidad plans on taking a lot of science-based courses that more relate to careers in Belize.
Luckily for Navidad, his grandmother lives in Boston, which will certainly help when he feels homesick. His family, peers, teachers, The San Pedro Sun, and the Belizean community congratulate him on his acceptance to this incredible university. Best wishes to Angel and may he succeed in all his future endeavors.
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