A proud family couldn’t hide their emotion when their first-generation college student son discovered he had been accepted to Harvard.
Noel Moctezuma Mendez gathered around a laptop at home in Austin, Texas, with mom Maria Zapata and sisters Vaneza and Liliana Mendez to check on his application via the college’s online portal.
When Noel saw the application has been updated and read the congratulatory acceptance offer, his family covered their mouths in shock before jumping up and down while bursting into excited screams.
Sister Liliana said Noel has worked hard to get to where he is, and, although there was struggles along the road, especially the passing of their father in 2018, it never discouraged him following his dreams – and if anything gave him more determination to keep pushing.
Noel, a Career Technical Education senior at Del Valle High School in Central Texas, will be attending Harvard College for the next four years studying computer science and business, with the aim of joining big tech before one day starting his own company.
On top of a full scholarship, he secured $40,000 from Amazon and $20,000 from Dell, and waiting to hear back from other applications he says he’ll use towards attending grad school if he decides to.
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Harvard College is the undergraduate college of Harvard University.
Harvard College recently announced it admitted 3.41 percent of applicants to the Class of 2027, marking the second-lowest admissions rate in the College’s history.
Noel said: “I felt very, very blessed – I was in shock for little over a week after being admitted into Harvard.
“It all seemed surreal and out of this world, it still seems unreal, and I don’t think it’ll settle in until I finally move in in the fall.
“My family and I feel very happy and proud all my hard work these last four years paid off and I was able to get into my dream school.
“I’m the first to go to college and I think it will set an example not just for my family to come, but also other students from my community.
“You don’t have to be in a family line where everybody went to college, I always make sure I try my best and that’s all you can do, make sure you’re always trying your best.”
Sister Liliana, who captured the moment on March 31, added: “I picked my brother up from school, we got to the house and he really wanted us to be there with him when he opened his acceptance letters.
“At first, he just wanted to do it really quick but I said we have to film it and get our reaction – my family thought I was really extra but I wanted to save the memory of our reaction.
“After the video we were all pretty shook to think our brother got accepted into Harvard – we are so proud of him and all posted it as soon as he found out and everyone kept texting us congratulating him.
“I know our father would be very proud of him – he always told us to never give up and to always give it our all and we couldn’t be prouder of Mocte.”