Galena Park ISD Alumni Spotlight

  • Manuel Figueroa was born and raised in Galena Park ISD, beginning his education at Cimarron Elementary and Normandy Crossing Elementary. He developed the love of reading at a young age, and once he caught the reading bug, he read a sizeable portion of books in the library at Normandy Crossing Elementary before moving on to middle school. He completed his educational career in GPISD at North Shore Senior High School and was a member of the Class of 2014.

    Manuel was named a Duke University Talent Identification Program scholar for exceptional performance on the ACT, which is a college readiness test, while he was in 7th grade. Throughout middle school, Manuel competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, advancing to the preliminary rounds, which were aired on PBS. Upon completion of his 8th grade year, Manuel represented Galena Park ISD at the NASA Space Center during the summer, speaking in front of Charlie Bolden, NASA Director, and numerous government officials.

    While at North Shore Senior High School, Manuel enrolled in a variety of Advanced Placement courses (13 total), as well as early dual credit courses at San Jacinto Community College in the 9th and 10th grades. He graduated 5th in his class of 1,064 as a National Hispanic Scholar (awarded to students who score in the top 1% of the PSATs in their respective state), and as a National AP Scholar with Distinction. Manuel went on to attend Dartmouth College, one of the eight Ivy League universities in the country, being the first student from Galena Park ISD to do so for academics in several years.

    Manuel was awarded a full scholarship by his university, as well as the Jesse H. Jones scholarship- totaling well over a quarter of a million dollars. He was later named a recipient of an endowed scholarship by his university, the Trevor-Rees Jones Scholarship, which is only awarded to students the college deems as having a notable impact on Dartmouth during their undergraduate career.

    While in college, Manuel joined the Dartmouth College Fencing team, and even advanced to the USACFC National Championships, despite it being his first year in the sport. The Dartmouth College Fencing Club placed 4th in the nation this past year.

    Now a sophomore, Manuel has become a member of a startup company, Students of Strength, with a fellow student, Rahsann King – a rising star at Harvard University. The company focuses on educational technology that pairs students in grades 6-12 with top scholars at Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton, MiT, and other top-tiered universities via a robust online platform, as well as a mobile app that is available across devices. Some of the key features include college mentoring, Face-time homework sessions with tutors, and subject tutoring that is available 24/7. To date, 90,000 students from H.I.S.D, the entire state of New Mexico, and L.A.U.S.D have signed up to begin using the service in the fall of 2015.  Parents and students interested should contact Manuel Figueroa at in either English or Spanish.

    We know we will be hearing many stellar reports of Manuel’s impact on our community and society in the future. GPISD is honored to call him “one of our own!”

    Maneul Figueroa