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Jireh Shalom Lira Cabello, an incoming senior at PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School, is pictured at Harvard University.

SAN JUAN, Texas – Harvard University is one of the most prestigious universities in North America. For many high school students, going to Harvard University would be a dream come true. For one PSJA ISD student, that dream came true.

Jireh Shalom Lira Cabello, an incoming senior at PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School.

Jireh Shalom Lira Cabello, a 17 year old incoming senior at PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School, is one of the lucky high schoolers that is able to go to Cambridge, Massachusetts for the Harvard Secondary School Program.

The Harvard Secondary School Program is a seven week program from June 17-August 5. The Harvard Secondary School Program provides high school students with the opportunity to experience college life: enroll in college courses for credit through Harvard Summer School, live on campus in historic Harvard dorms, and meet new friends from all over the globe.

As a part of the program, Harvard organizes trips for the students to different places. On July 4th, the students who signed up for the trip went on a train to Salem, Massachusetts. The students were allowed to walk freely through the city. Lira Cabello recalls learning about the Salem witch trials in school and says: “When I got to Salem I was beyond excited, because I was experiencing what I had learned through a textbook in real life, it was magical.”

Jireh Shalom Lira Cabello with a statue of John Harvard.

While on campus Lira Cabello is taking two 4-credit courses; Microeconomics and Oral Expression: Español Hablado. Her classes are Monday through Thursday, in a class of 100 other students from all over the world. The student tells us that she has learned so much in her time being there, not just academically, but from being around so many cultures. “It’s been a very eye opening experience to be here and to be able to meet all these people and see how passionate they are, it’s just incredible I don’t know how to describe it,” said Lira Cabello.

The student believes PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School prepared her for these advanced courses, due to the students being required to take AP courses. Lira Cabello shared her feelings about teacher, Juan Barrera, who teaches mathematics at Jefferson. “He came here to Harvard to obtain his Master’s [of Liberal Arts in Mathematics for Teaching], and he gave me tips of what to do and what to expect from Harvard.”

The student plans to graduate in May 2018 with an Associate in Interdisciplinary Studies from South Texas College. She was also one of four juniors to be chosen to go to the PSJA Summer Ivy League Tours to Washington University in St. Louis. She said the tour was very eye-opening for her as well, helping her realize that medicine is not what she is passionate about, and that her true calling is studying business.

Lira Cabello would like to thank everyone in PSJA ISD for supporting her, her teachers for being there for her, and her family and friends. “Make sure you give it your 110 percent, because it is really challenging, but so worth it”, she advises, to anyone that has dreams of going to Harvard.