Hard work and diligence are words that students hear repeated many times in the classroom, touted as the key to success. For A&M Consolidated High School senior Michael Caballero, he’s lived these words in his preparation with Avant Garde – College Prep Services, helping him to receive recognition for his achievement as a National Hispanic Scholar (NHS), scoring within the top 98% of high school students taking the PSAT/NMSQT®.
“Before we started using Robb’s services, I had looked at other services just to be prudent,” Michael’s mother, Brenda Caballero said. “We talked to another person with similar services and gave him my son’s PSAT scores for his sophomore year. He said it wasn’t likely he would get any type of merit scholarship, and I said, ‘you don’t know my son’, he obviously didn’t.”
To qualify as a NHS, a student must be of Hispanic or Latino heritage, take the PSAT/NMSQT® in October of their junior year of high school, achieve a required selection index score and earn a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher by the middle of their junior year. Michael, who got a score of 1060 the first time he took the PSAT his sophomore year, was able to score in the 98 percentile of high school students taking the exam one year later.
“Before I met with Robb I had no prior experience with the SAT or an understanding of its significance,” Michael said. “Robb explained it would be hard but he thought I had potential to get it if I worked with him. It was a struggle, but I started to believe in myself more.”
Michael’s biggest struggle with the test was the time limit associated with each section. While Michael felt he was initially slow to grasp a lot of the concepts and test-taking strategies from his AGP courses, he believes the biggest advantage his time with AGP gave him was the ability to transition his mindset into one of a college student.
“Moving onto this significant time in my life psyched me out a bit,” Michael said. “As Robb continued to work with me, show patience and also just continually support me, it gave me the right drive and focus to break the mental block.”
As a senior, Michael is now preparing to transition into the college environment to follow his dream of becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). As a part of his work with AGP, Michael has had opportunities to work at the Bryan Manor, serve as a certified nursing assistant and other opportunities that have helped him validate his interests in the healthcare field.
While Michael knows that his achievement took a lot of personal sacrifice and hard work, he acknowledges the sacrifices his parents have also made for his education and credits them with being the biggest part of his success.
“A lot of my drive and will to go out and be capable of achieving this came from my parents,” Michael said. “My parents were so encouraging and they really allowed me to do what I was capable of go for what I want, I owe them a lot for that.”
Michael’s family is also excited for the doors his recognition will open for his future. I’m excited to see him move onto his dreams and the aspirations that he has for his life,” Brenda said. “He’s always been very focused on what he wants to pursue and its never been anything he has back and forth about. We’re glad we’ve worked with Robb to get to this point and are excited to see where he goes from here.”