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Two Fox Tech students overcome odds to attend Vanderbilt University together

Adrian carrying Jakob outside of Fox Tech High School.
Kayla Padilla
Adrian carrying Jakob outside of Fox Tech High School.

Two best friends from Fox Tech are Tennessee bound after they both got accepted into Vanderbilt University on a full-ride scholarship.

Adrian Delgado and Jakob Valle have been best friends since sophomore year. They didn’t anticipate that they’d be going to the same school, but as of last week, the pair are planning to be roommates at the prestigious university.

“We wanted each other to go to a good school and to succeed, but we never expected to go to the same school. We’d have sleepovers and stay awake all night talking about how college was going to be. We never thought we’d be at the same university,” said Adrian.

The two Fox Tech students collectively applied to an estimated 80 schools with the help of their college advisors Joshua Anaya and Faith Byrne.

Adrian is Fox Tech’s first QuestBridge scholar. Questbridge is a program for low-income students to apply for early admission and a full scholarship to any of the schools partnered with Questbridge.

Byrne is the College Bound advisor for Fox Tech and Advanced Learning. She said the two boys have worked hard to get to where they’re at.

“For both of them to be going to a top tier institution on full rides, it’s a big deal, especially with all the stuff they’ve had to deal with throughout their lives,” she said.

Adrian will study mathematics and is still deciding on a career path.

“So either a software developer, statistician, mathematician, an actuary or a data scientist. But I’m not set in stone into one career yet,” he said.

Jakob will study neuroscience and wants to go into neurosurgery.

“That’s why I wanna do neuroscience right now to get the forefront of it, understand it, and then when I get to med school, I’ll have a better understanding,” said Jakob.

Both Adrian and Jakob were raised in low-income, single-mother households and aspired to leave the state for college.

“I didn’t want to be in the same environment I grew up in, mainly because I don’t have a lot of good experiences here. I didn’t apply to a single Texas school,” said Adrian.

Jakob grew up in a rocky environment as well.

“My father’s actually incarcerated. So I grew up around that and I knew that I didn’t want to do that,” he said.

When he found out he got accepted into Vanderbilt, Jakob made everyone, including the school principal, keep it a secret until he told his dad. He made an appointment to visit him in prison on his 18th birthday. He hadn’t seen his father in years.

“I went to go tell him and I was crying. He was so excited for me because he’s known that it’s all I ever wanted and it’s all he wanted me to work towards,” said Jakob.

College advisor Anaya, who also worked with both students, said their vibrant personalities and work ethic have contributed to their success.

“I hope that they stay exactly who they are because that’s such a huge reason why they’ve gotten to where they are now. They’ve stayed true to themselves this whole process,” he said.

Adrian and Jakob do nearly everything together, including going to church, playing sports, and being members of City Kids Adventures.

“We really keep each other in check academically, spiritually, physically, mentally, literally all of it. We’re soul brothers,” said Adrian.

The two boys say they will miss their families, but they can’t wait to start their new lives. Together, they’re going to break generational cycles and become people that make the world a better place.

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