College Board recognizes Quakertown senior

Yelizaveta Hernandez, a Quakertown Community High School senior, has been rec­og­nized by the College Board for her aca­d­e­m­ic success.

A straight‑A stu­dent, Yelizaveta received the College Board National Hispanic Recognition Award and National Rural and Small Town Recognition Award for hav­ing a grade point aver­age above 3.5 while scor­ing in the top 10 per­cent of Pennsylvania stu­dents on the PSAT.

I’ve been apply­ing for so many online schol­ar­ships to help pay for col­lege, so when you win some­thing it’s kind of sur­pris­ing,” she said. “I didn’t expect it. I guess my hard work kind of paid off.”

Yelizaveta’s 1210 on the PSAT is well above the nation­al aver­age of 920. Her SAT score, 1430, also out­paces the nation­al aver­age of 1050.

I can’t think of anoth­er stu­dent who deserves this as much as she does,” said Erica Henry, Yelizaveta’s school coun­selor. “Yelizaveta is a force to be reck­oned with in her own qui­et way. She is an excep­tion­al stu­dent and per­son over­all. She always strives to do her best and is a very inquis­i­tive learn­er, always seek­ing answers and knowl­edge. She is incred­i­bly self-motivated and I have yet to see any obsta­cle dis­rupt her from her goals.”

During her high school career, she has tak­en nine Advanced Placement class­es, includ­ing three this semes­ter: Economics, Government and Statistics, help­ing to boost her weight­ed GPA to 4.34.

In addi­tion to her aca­d­e­m­ic accom­plish­ments, Yelizaveta is involved in many activ­i­ties both in and out of school. A field hock­ey play­er, she’s also a mem­ber of Student Council, Class Council, Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, and InspireED. Outside of school, Yelizaveta is a vol­un­teer at St. Luke’s Upper Bucks Hospital, Last Chance Ranch, and a Russian Orthodox Church in Philadelphia. She also works part-time at Wawa.

Michael Sandler, Student Council advi­sor and Social Studies teacher, shared a let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion he wrote for Yelizaveta to include in her col­lege appli­ca­tions. He states:

Yelizaveta is the type of stu­dent teach­ers hope is in all of their class­es. She is always pre­pared, atten­tive, insight­ful, and an excep­tion­al writer. Hers are the essays you read first so that you know where the bar should be set for the rest of the stu­dents because you know it can­not get bet­ter. She val­ues her edu­ca­tion deeply and con­sis­tent­ly shows this in the class­room by sub­mit­ting high-quality work on time every time, as well as par­tic­i­pat­ing thought­ful­ly, mean­ing­ful­ly, and respect­ful­ly, in class dis­cus­sions. … One of the best parts about Yelizaveta’s par­tic­i­pa­tion is that she often brought an inter­est­ing per­spec­tive to the class as some­one hav­ing imme­di­ate fam­i­ly from a for­eign coun­try. Yelizaveta is a true asset to a class­room. I am lucky to have had her as a student.”

As Mr. Sandler points out, Yelizaveta’s writ­ing and speak­ing tal­ents are appar­ent. She has won both the Fleet Reserve Association Essay Contest and Rotary Club speech con­test. “That was a lot of work but cer­tain­ly worth the effort,” she said. “I’m a per­fec­tion­ist. It’s like I’m nev­er done. ‘How can I get bet­ter? How can I improve even more?’ “

Yelizaveta has an inter­est­ing back­ground that has encour­aged her to speak Russian and Spanish, in addi­tion to English. Her mom, Elena, is Russian, and her dad, Pedro, is Cuban. 

Yelizaveta was born in Honolulu, and has lived in Georgia and Florida before com­ing to Pennsylvania when she was in eighth grade and enrolled in Strayer Middle School. Mr. Hernandez, an Army vet­er­an, was deployed to Iraq.

I’ve lived a lot of cul­tures,” she said.

If she has her way, that will con­tin­ue in col­lege and after grad­u­a­tion as she stud­ies for a career in inter­na­tion­al rela­tions. She said her back­ground and Mr. Sandler’s U.S. History Honors class inspired that deci­sion. “Russia and the U.S. have dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives, and I appre­ci­ate the way Mr. Sandler han­dled those dis­cus­sions,” Yelizaveta said.

So far, she has been accept­ed to Penn State and Suffolk University in Boston, which has a cam­pus in Madrid. Early Action schools she expects to hear from by February 1 include Virginia, Northeastern, and the University of North Carolina. Other schools she’s con­sid­er­ing are Brown, Boston University, George Washington, Tufts, and Yale.

Yelizaveta said she’s “sad­dened” that there’s often ten­sion in the rela­tion­ship between the U.S. and Russia. “Every coun­try has good and bad things. Russia is a very beau­ti­ful coun­try,” she said. “Its met­ros look like muse­ums. The archi­tec­ture is very pret­ty. The news media always focus­es on bad things. I want to learn beyond what the news shows. I don’t want to rely on what the Internet tells me.”