On Dec. 13, Laurens District High School student Bryan Uceda- Alvarez was performing in the orchestra concert in the lecture theater.
While he focused on making the beautiful sounds of Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24 (by Trans-Siberian Orchestra) come alive for audience members, Uceda-Alvarez also had something weighing on his mind…an email. An email that confirmed that all his hard work, dedication, and support from his family had paid off.
He told himself that the email could wait until he got home that night, but after the concert, his adrenalin level was so high, he just had to know whether his four-year-old dreams of going to an Ivy League college would come true.
Uceda-Alvarez, a senior at LDHS, found out in the lecture theater of LDHS, surrounded by his friends, that he had been accepted and granted a full scholarship to Columbia University. Columbia University is a private, Ivy League school in upper Manhattan, New York.
After receiving the raucous congratulations of classmates, he went out into the audience to tell his mom.
“I got in,” were the only words that came out of his mouth and, in true Mom fashion, she knew precisely what he was talking about. Then, as they stood there together, the screaming and tears of joy began to flow in abundance.
Uceda- Alvarez applied to over 20 schools in South Carolina and around the country. Columbia University, however, was the only Ivy League college he truly wanted.
When asked if Uceda-Alvarez had made his decision, he told us, “Yes, done deal, the paperwork has already been sent in. My mom got into Princeton a few years ago and was unable to attend; I am going to Columbia University for both of us. I am pursuing biochemistry on a pre-med track because my grandmother is one of my biggest supporters and she has been my inspiration.”
Uceda-Alvarez has always been interested in science and gives thanks to all the teachers at LDHS for answering all of his questions.
Uceda-Alvarez also founded the Cultural Club, where the primary goal is to educate others on cultural differences, similarities, and traditions. He is planning on minoring in Latin-American studies at Columbia University. A well-rounded, humble student, he gives credit to being involved in arts, robotics, National Honor Society and a few other extracurricular activities as essential to his acceptance into the Ivy League.
Asked what advice he would give the juniors starting the college application process next year, Uceda-Alvarez said, “Stay focused on what you care about.”