The small school of Gustine High School has had its share of Dell Scholars in the past.
And some of those former Dell Scholars students were the ones who encouraged Gustine’s valedictorian Karla Luquín to apply for the prestigious scholarship during her senior year.
“They thought if anyone could get it, it would be me,” said Luquín, who graduated June 1 from Gustine High School with a grade point average of 4.67.
Luquín, who is a first-generation college students in her family, wants to become a doctor. She wants to work with children, so she hopes to become a pediatric doctor or a surgeon that works with children.
“I didn’t even think I could (get scholarship), but they pushed me to do it,” said the 18-year-old Luquín, who will be attending the University of Notre Dame in the fall.
There were a few students at Gustine High School that also applied for the Dell scholarship, but Luquín was the only one selected from Gustine to become this year’s Dell Scholar.
Born in Salinas, Luquín said family moved to México for four years, then came back to California and lived in Salinas for a while before her family relocated to Gustine.
Luquín, who is the middle sibling of three daughters ages, 20, 18 and 10, said her parents are from Ameca, Jalisco, México.
Luquín said her oldest sister, who is currently in college at California State University, Stanislaus, also applied to the Dell scholarship while she was a senior but didn’t receive it.
Her mother Hilda Hernández, works in a factory making chicharones and cueritos in Modesto. Her father passed away when she was only 11-years-old.
While attending Notre Dame, Luquín plans to study biological sciences for her undergraduate with her goal of going to medical school in the future. Some of her options for medical school include UCLA.
Luquín said she applied to 14 universities and received letters of acceptance to nine of them including four CSU campus, three UC campus and two out of state universities including Notre Dame.
She said her top two choices were UCLA and Notre Dame and decided to attend Notre Dame because “they game me a good financial aid package.”
She said she also got into a program offered by the university where about 10 students are selected after applying to it and those students receive support to help those students get integrated to the campus life and to school and financial aid assistance too.
Luquín, was also one of 100 incoming freshmen students selected to visit Notre Dame in Indiana for a weekend with all paid expenses, making it a great experience to see the campus in person.
“I love it, it’s really big, really pretty,” said Luquín, adding that she would have to adjust to the cold weather there.
Beside the Dell scholarship, Luquín got other local scholarships too.
For Luquín going to college means that she would be leaving many friends behind when she goes to college in a different state.
However, she is looking forward to the new chapter in her life.
“It’s very competitive,” Luquín said of the university. “But you are competitive with yourself, but not with your classmate. Everybody helps everybody.”