Reina Duron hopes to become a dentist or a plastic surgeon someday.
After being recognized by the College Board’s National Recognition Program, the PrepNet Virtual Academy senior will have a leg up while working toward those aspirations. The program grants underrepresented students with academic honors they can include on college and scholarship applications and connects them with universities across the country.
Duron was recognized because of her academic achievements and a score of 1,210 on the PSAT/NMSQT Exam. There are four recognition programs: National African American Recognition Award, National Hispanic Recognition Award, National Rural and Small Town Award, and National Indigenous Award. Duron earned the National Hispanic Recognition.
Students must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and have excelled on the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10, or earned a score of 3 or higher on two or more AP Exams. Eligible students can apply during their sophomore or junior year and will be awarded at the beginning of the next school year.
Duron said College Board emailed her to sign up for the recognition, but she downplayed her chances while reluctantly entering.
“I was really surprised,” she said. “When I got the email that I actually like received the honor, I was like, ‘Wow, I didn't think that was going to happen,’ so it was pretty nice. It was a cool surprise.”
Duron still is trying to decide what school she will attend after graduating from PrepNet, but said something in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) is appealing, either to help people with dental problems or to ease self-doubt about their appearance.
“I think that a lot of conditions that affect people later in life that aren’t really talked about are the teeth, especially for like lower income families, how difficult it can be if there isn't the preliminary care for dental problems, whether it be hygiene or genetic,” she said. “It can be incredibly painful and debilitating because you need to eat.
“For plastic surgery, I think there's a certain stigma around it, where it’s ‘You’re just doing it to look pretty.’ Sometimes people have these lifelong insecurities and if they’re doing it because they would be happier without it, then I don't see a problem with it. Also things like cleft lip, maybe cosmetically missing one ear … it could be really empowering to have a look of yourself that you can be proud of.”
Being able to speak with teachers is something Duron has enjoyed at PrepNet as opposed to learning strictly on your own. She also appreciates that PrepNet works to meet the needs of her chronic health condition.
“The school I used to go to, they weren't willing to comply, whereas PrepNet actually helps me draft it out,” she said. “That was really helpful.
“I like that there’s independent work beyond the classroom. There are a lot of online classes that are fully asynchronous but with PrepNet you can actually talk to a teacher that will instruct you during the allotted hours. It’s nice that you have time outside of that, but it’s also really helpful to have like an actual person.”
PrepNet Virtual Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes over 95 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
Academic Honor Gives PrepNet Student a Boost for College
Published: Oct 21, 2022NHA Communications
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