A Northern Lebanon High School senior recently participated in the National Hispanic Institute’s International Collegiate World Series, held on July 17 through 21 at Elizabethtown College, one of three nationwide sites.

Nelly Arvizu, daughter of Marco and Zulema Arvizu, Jonestown, was selected for the honor along with over 125 other seniors-to-be from across the country, most of who were first generation Hispanic-Americans. She was one of only two Pennsylvania students who qualified.

The CWS is an intense five-day residential program designed to accelerate college preparedness by focusing on the admissions process and the challenges of day-to-day college life.

Successful applicants must have at least a 3.2/4.0 grade point average, which was not a problem for Nelly. At the end of her junior year she was ranked second in her class and had a 3.89 GPA.

It’s been a full summer for Nelly. In addition to the CWS, she’s has been working at a Sheetz store and taking advanced placement courses at Northern Lebanon in chemistry, English composition, and calculus.

Hard work and academics aren’t the only demands on Nelly’s time. She’s a versatile musician in the Kid’s Chorus at St. Benedict the Abbot, her family’s church. “I’ve been playing clarinet since 4th grade and guitar since 8th,” she said. “And I just started playing bass guitar this year.”

Why did she recently start playing bass? “Because,” she said modestly, “they needed a bass player.”

And, Nelly likes to write. So much, in fact, that she interviewed for a reporter position here at LebTown. The word around the newsroom is that she made a good impression, but that her many other time-intensive pursuits led her to withdraw her application.

While she isn’t far along yet in the college application process, and isn’t focusing on just a few schools, Nelly sees medical school, possibly surgery or oncology, down the road.

Her motivation? “I guess it’s the family and friends I’ve known who have had cancer,” she said. “I have a friend now who is recovering from cancer.”

CWS graduates are expected to return to their schools as ambassadors to help other Hispanic students looking to go to college. This keeps Nelly coming back to the fact that only two of the 125 students at her CWS were from Pennsylvania.

She thinks state high schools, particularly those with large Hispanic populations, should be aware of the opportunity. “I’m a little disappointed. There are lots of first-generation students with good grades who want to succeed,” she said. “I just don’t think many high schools know about this.”

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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