Six DeSoto ISD Students Receive National College Board Recognition

Six DeSoto ISD Students Receive National College Board Recognition
Posted on 11/16/2021
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DESOTO, TEXAS - DeSoto ISD is proud to celebrate six DeSoto High School seniors who received national academic honors for their exceptional academic achievement by the National College Board Recognition Program. The program recognized seniors in three areas - African American, Hispanic and Indigenous. 

The College Board National Recognition Programs create pathways to college for underrepresented students by awarding them academic honors and connecting them with universities across the country based on their performance on the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or AP Exams and in their classrooms.

“I am really proud of myself. I worked really hard. I feel like I made my parents, my family, and my people proud. It is very different to come from different backgrounds. My mother is African-American and my father is Hispanic and Indigenous,” said Mikela Mesa, a DHS senior, who wants to become a veterinarian, received all three designations from this academic achievement recognition program. “I have already started to apply for colleges and this is one of the top honors recognized by colleges. This recognition sets me apart. I am glad that colleges recognize hard workers who are willing to put in the work to get what they want.”

The National College Board honors also allow students to receive scholarships, access to additional funds, and a network of mentors which will increase their likelihood of college acceptance and degree program completion.

Like Mesa, Andrell Fisher, who received the National College Board African-American recognition, understands the value and the journey to achieve this level of academic success.

“Being nationally recognized is a big deal and means a lot. It shows that the hard work that I put in during class is paying off,” said Fisher. He plans to attend college, major in Finance, and use his training to obtain his career goal of being a chief executive officer. Fisher explained how he achieved this level of success. 

“I prepared for this recognition by paying attention in class, learning the course concepts, recognizing and using testing strategies,” he said. 

Courtney Johnson is a DHS senior who plans to major in computer science and become a software engineer. She received the National African American recognition and spoke the encouragement that award brings to her.

“Honestly, I prepared a lot. I took the PSAT multiple times before taking the test that I needed and used my strategies, said Johnson. “This award is proof that if I set my mind to achieve something, I can do it.”  

DHS senior Nayelly Torres received the National Hispanic Recognition from the College Board and feels very proud of this personal achievement.

“I feel that I can represent and recognize my Hispanic community. I have been preparing for this award over the years by learning test-taking strategies. This award will help my application stand out especially among the more competitive admissions processes,” said Torres. “I’d really like to thank my teacher, Ms. Cora Garner, who taught me the test strategies.”


Torres and Mesa spoke to the value of using strategies to understand how to approach the exams.

“Throughout the years, I learned test strategies and we studied for the PSAT and SAT tests in class. Then, we took the practice tests which helped me understand the structure of the test. I believe this really helped,” said Mesa.

LETS GEAR UP Director Robin Johnson Ford supports the district’s college, career, and military readiness initiatives. She was extremely elated to learn of the achievement of these students and shared how this increases the postsecondary options for these students.

“This award recognizes their excellence in achievement on these exams and allows them to access nationwide scholars that can offer a “full-ride” regardless of where they attend college, shared Johnson-Ford. “The success that they achieve in college and beyond is launched starting right here with this national recognition. In DeSoto ISD, we provide multiple avenues for students to be successful.”

According to Johnson-Ford, this achievement is a result of the district’s commitment to removing barriers to success for district students, including hosting an on-campus SAT testing day, offering dual credit and an early college program. These actions are helping DeSoto ISD to fulfill its mission of helping all students learn and grow at their highest potential and their board goal to increase the college, career, and military readiness of its high school students. 

Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or AP Exams and are African American or Black, Hispanic American or Latinx, Indigenous, or attend school in a rural area or small town may be invited to apply for academic recognition as part of the College Board National Recognition Programs.

The College Board National Recognition Programs grant students academic honors that can be included on college and scholarship applications. Colleges use these honors to identify students from underrepresented groups who have excelled on their PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or AP Exams and in their classrooms.

DeSoto ISD is extremely proud of all of its National College Board Scholars included below who received this national academic recognition.

National College Board Scholars -  African-American Recognition

Andrell Fisher 

Mikayla McNutt

Courtney Johnson

Javion Looney

Mikaela Mesa

National College Board Scholars - National Hispanic Recognition 

Mikaela Mesa

Nayelly Torres

National College Board Scholars - National Indigenous Recognition 

Mikaela Mesa