Gabrielino High School seniors Kevin Quach and Carlos Pondevida have been named 2019 National Merit Scholarship finalists, placing them in the running for the prestigious award and financial aid.
National Merit Scholarship participants are selected based on how they score on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), taken during their junior year. Of the 1.6 million students who take the exam, fewer than 15,000 are named finalists.
“Being an immigrant from a family that had to make many sacrifices to come to the United States, this is a proud moment,” Pondevida said. “I am greatly inspired by my parents, who have instilled in me a work ethic that allows me to pursue my dreams.”
Quach and Pondevida share an interest in entering the medical profession – Quach as a physician and Pondevida as a bio-engineer. Both students say support from teachers, administration and staff have contributed greatly to their success in school.
“Gabrielino High has been a major contributor in my growth as a student,” Quach said. “The staff cares about you and encourages you to pursue career paths and to challenge yourself academically.”
Quach plans to major in biology and attend medical school. In 2018, he took part in Pasadena City College’s Stem Cell Training Workshop and has volunteered at Methodist Hospital of Southern California for more than two years, working with nurses and interacting with patients.
Pondevida hopes to research experimental new branches such as regenerative medicine.