Hector Huerta Figueroa is a Hiawatha Collegiate High School senior and has been with Hiawatha since Kindergarten. Hector is the third-ever Hiawatha student to receive the prestigious Questbridge scholarship. He will be attending Swarthmore College this fall on a fully-funded scholarship.
What do you hope to do after high school?
After high school, I want to earn an Environmental Studies major with a minor in French at Swarthmore College. I also want to explore the city of Philadelphia and New York once I get to Swarthmore.
Who has supported you in your journey to this point?
My parents and friends have been my biggest support in my college journey. My parents have always pushed me to reach for my highest potential and always give new experiences a try. As a first-generation student, I felt an additional push to be successful in high school. My friends at Hiawatha have also encouraged me to apply for competitive colleges and scholarships and stay strong in my high school journey.
What advice do you give other students, parents, or teachers about the best ways to succeed in school?
Keeping track of school work has been slightly challenging for me so I recommend other students to find a way to track classwork and homework. For parents and teachers, I would recommend encouraging students to foster a positive mindset and support student’s interests because that’s what helped me feel excited about my future after high school.
What do you hope to accomplish after college?
After college, I want to work at a wildlife refuge to support environmental conservation and community outreach or work for the Forest Service. I also want to be able to travel a lot as a part of my job so I can explore the world and use the French that I learned in high school and college.
Who is a favorite teacher you have had and why?
My favorite teacher was my middle school English teacher, Ms. Black, because I felt that she was the first teacher who believed in my abilities and ensured that I would exceed my word count in reading every month. She was the teacher who got me from not liking to read to being excited about the newest Hunger Games book.
Is there anyone else you would like to thank, or is there anything else you would like to share?
I would also like to thank Ms. Spotts and Ms. Thompson for writing awesome letters of recommendation for my Questbridge Application and Ms. Mefleh for making French an interesting subject, so much so that I want to continue learning the language in college. I also want to thank the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge for opening the conservation field for me.