Harlingen teen scores in top 90 percentile for college

HARLINGEN — Jackson Hughes has been a common attendee at robotics and other events based on science.

He’s tended to avoid the camera, preferring instead to focus his attention on the work at hand.

There’s no avoiding the camera now.

The Gutierrez Middle School eighth grader has just been recognized for his high scores in the SAT part of the Duke University Talent Identification Program’s seventh grade talent search.

He and two other students — Jacob Fox of Coakley Middle School and Jorge Gonzales from Vela Middle School — received state recognition for their performances on the exam. However, 13-year-old Jackson scored the highest in the district.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said nonchalantly.

Jackson had opportunities to prepare.

“I took a practice reading test,” he said. “I read the passage and answered questions about it.”

The exam, which he took last year, tested his knowledge of science, math and reading.

“I knew the math,” he said. “I like numbers.”

Harlingen school district administrators couldn’t sing his praises enough.

“He’s in the 90th percentile of college-bound seniors,” said Myliss Parker, director of advanced academic services for the Harlingen school district.

This means that out of 100 college-bound seniors taking the test, he would be in the top 90 percent.

An extension of this number is the fact that his scores show college-level aptitude.

As for Jackson, his calm and quiet manner reveals a penetrating focus on his work.

“I want to be a chemist,” he said, adding he plans to attend the Dr. Abraham P. Cano Freshman Academy next year.