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16-year-old Delano student to graduate with a diploma and a degree

Posted at 10:47 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 10:19:07-04

DELANO, Calif. — Not even a pandemic can stop this one Delano High School student from excelling, not only just in high school but in college.

16-year-old Alejandro Hernandez says no matter someone's circumstances, anything for them can be possible. For him, graduating with a diploma, and a degree began with having a plan.

“You know, from this area, it’s not the most privileged area. It’s cool and all, there’s are some opportunities, but especially like me, not a lot of people have a lot of resources to go around,” said Alejandro.

Alejandro has spent most of his Delano High School career navigating a pandemic. But before that, he was figuring out how to prepare for college as both a first-generation college student and a first-generation American.

"Especially as a first-generation college student, you don’t really know how the process works.”

From freshman year, Alejandro made the process work for him, seeking help from high school counselors, planning out his schedule, and managing his time in dual and concurrent enrollment while staying involved in sports like tennis.

"I really wanted to push the limit on this, and by pushing the limit on this, I managed to achieve this.”

What Alejandro will achieve as a high school junior is no small feat. The soon-to-be graduate will not only have a diploma from Delano High School but also an associate's degree from Bakersfield College.

"Without motivation, everything will fall apart. It’s what holds everything together.”

Alejandro says his motivation is a passion for creating a positive future for others as an engineer and seeing his older brother excel under the same set of circumstances.

"He went pretty high, he got his master’s in nursing. He’s a nurse practitioner. So, he was one of my role models for knowing that just because you’re a first-generation college student doesn’t mean, sure the odds might be stacked against you but it’s very doable.”

As for what’s next for Alejandro, he’ll be heading off to UC Berkeley to major in electrical engineering and computer science.