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Osceola County student gets full scholarship to Yale

'I had worked so hard for this moment,' student says

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – An Osceola County high school student will be going to Yale University after being awarded a full scholarship.

Jose Garcia said he's the first to be accepted into an Ivy League school from his high school and that his family members, who are immigrants from the Dominican Republic, are extremely proud of all his accomplishments.

"I think it's really important that any other student who is willing to dream just as big can do the same,"  Garcia said.

Garcia said he has been wanting to go to Yale for as long as he can remember and that his parents, who moved to Central Florida in 1996, never went to college.

"To have this hard work be validated, to have it be proven that their determination for me and
my sister to have a great life, that means something to me," Garcia said.

Garcia maintains the highest GPA at the Osceola County School for Arts, with a 4.6 out of 5. The senior also ranked in the 98th percentile on the SAT. He said, on average, he spends five to six hours a night doing homework and studying.

"I had worked so hard for this moment, I was really anxious to open it. I finally got myself to view the status update and when I saw it said, 'Congratulations,' I was so excited," he said.

Not only was he accepted to Yale, but Garcia also received a four-year scholarship including room and board. The price amounts to just under $70,000 a year.

"College is expensive, extremely expensive, especially for my family. It's really been a weight lifted off my parents' shoulders, especially because we don't have to deal with those burdens," he said.

The class valedictorian said that when he starts at Yale in August, his plan is to student history before eventually going to law school.

"A lot of times we're taught to downsize our dreams, that's not possible. It is possible if you work hard and long enough at it," Garcia said.