• October 21, 2019

OHS student selected as Dell Scholar - Odessa American: News

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OHS student selected as Dell Scholar

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Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 5:00 pm

When he talks about being selected as a Dell Scholar, Chris Perez is almost unnaturally calm.

“It was kind of like déjà vu (from) the last time when I heard that I was a semifinalist. I saw an email. I didn’t really have my head turned on and paying attention, so hours later when I looked I looked at my emails and went on the website it said congratulations. I got the scholarship. I was like whaaaat,” said Perez, an Odessa High School senior.

Perez plans to attend West Texas A&M University in Canyon and major in music. He plays the tuba in the OHS band, but can also play trombone and is learning to play the saxophone. He’s also in AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) and the Wild Bunch, a spirit group.

Perez said he received word of the Dell scholarship during spring break, but he didn’t tell anyone until he got back to school. That’s when he showed OHS AVID Coordinator Naomi Fuentes the email.

Kevin Almasy, engagement officer with the Dell Scholars program, said the $20,000 scholarship is spread out over the entirety of the time a student works toward their degree. Students can request up to $5,000 a year.

The $2,000 for textbooks also is a cumulative total spread out on an average of $500 a year, Almasy said in an email.

Perez said he also will receive a Dell laptop computer and web-based educational support.

Before Perez showed her the email, Fuentes said she thought none of her students had received it because no one had texted or emailed her. There were three semifinalists from Odessa High School, one from Permian and one from Falcon Early College High School.

“I was kind of already a little disappointed. OK, none of them got it of the three,” Fuentes said. “Then when he came in and showed me the email I was like, ‘Oh my God. Wow!’”

By contrast, Perez is cool about it. He said his family was proud of him and he did post it on Snapchat and was getting messages from friends congratulating him.

Ultimately, Perez said he hopes to become a music or band instructor.

“I’ve mainly been influenced by my music instructors in the past,” Perez said.

He added that he noticed all his music teachers loved what they did.

“… I want a job that I love. … I love music in general, performing, playing whatever. Teaching it would be a blessing,” Perez said. 

He added that he wouldn’t mind teaching younger students.

“I’m hoping to teach at university someday,” Perez said. “That would be cool. I wouldn’t mind starting from middle school or high school.”

Fuentes said OHS had a Dell Scholar in 2013 named DeKwaan (Dayday) Wynn.

She noted that she’s proud of Perez and all her students because they’re in AVID and they’re determined to go to college to better themselves. Fuentes said it’s like Perez said earlier that teaching is a blessing.

“… You’re proud of all your kids, but every once in a while something great will happen to them you’re like, ‘That’s awesome.’ That’s amazing that this opportunity popped up for one of my kids because a lot of them don’t get the opportunity for whatever reason, so when it does happen for one it’s awesome; it’s amazing,” Fuentes said.

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