Cielo Echegoyen, a Hispanic student from Orange County, received a great Christmas gift for her hard work and dedication. The young woman was admitted to study at Harvard University, one of the most prestigious universities in the entire country.

Echegoyen, who was accepted early, will take one more semester at her Santa Ana high school and then begin her studies at Harvard.

Echegoyen, who has maintained an impressive 4.83 average, jumped in excitement with her family when they learned that the young woman had been accepted into the prestigious university.

“I feel so much joy and relief that I think I’m going to overflow with happiness,” Echegoyen said.

The young student’s achievement has brought much joy, pride and satisfaction to her family, who say that her admission to the prestigious university is the deserved result of the struggle and sacrifices that Echeverria has made through several years.

“Everything is excellent, thank God, Cielo’s work is very good and the results are here,” said Hector Echegoyen, the girl’s father.

And Elvia Soriano, the student’s mother, says that “it is as if we had won the lottery because not everyone gets news like this, and it is the best thing that has happened to us in this life.”

Echegoyen is the third Santa Ana High School student to be accepted to Harvard and despite the financial ravages of her family, she did not give up on attending the college of her dreams.

“When I initially submitted my application, I tried not to think about the results,” Echegoyen shared, “Harvard had been my goal since I heard about their medical school.”

And although life has placed enormous obstacles on her, like the one she experienced when her father was detained by ICE agents, Echegoyen says that she has always been fortunate to have parents who encouraged her to maintain her efforts and fight to achieve her goals.

“It was very difficult, but thankfully I had the opportunity to visit my dad in Adelanto, and he always told me ‘focus and when this is over you have to make sure everything is okay at school.’”

Echegoyen, who will study molecular biology, will move to the state of Massachusetts where Harvard University is located in June. In the meantime, she has one semester left to finish high school, and to continue enjoying the company of her family.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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