LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin High School's No. 1-ranked student just received another prestigious honor.
Juan Ortiz, a senior at Lufkin High School, recently learned that he has received a full-ride academic scholarship to Princeton University in New Jersey. Ortiz is also a Commended National Scholar and is in the Hispanic National Recognition Program.
In addition, Ortiz was one of four LISD students who earned commended recognition on the National Merit Scholar test back in September.
What makes Ortiz' accomplishments even more impressive is the fact that English is not his first language. When he was seven, he and his mother moved to Tyler from Colombia.
"My mother wanted me to have better opportunities in life," Ortiz said in a previous East Texas News story.
Ortiz said the adjustment was hard at first. His mother went to school during the day and worked as a waitress at night. He said that seeing all the hard work that his mother did to make a better life for him is what inspired him to do so well in school.
Ortiz has been the No. 1-ranked student at LHS since he was a freshman. He has earned straight As all through high school and has consistently scored high on achievement tests.
About 1.5 million students take the National Merit Scholar test each year, and only about 34,000 are commended.
"For me, it's never been a competition," Ortiz said. "I have just tried to do my best."