HSHP top of the class are role models

HARLINGEN — “It feels almost historic.”

That’s how Jaime Ramirez described graduating salutatorian with the first senior class at Harlingen School of Health Professions.

“It sets a really big precedent for all kids coming after us,” said Jaime, 18. “I feel real proud about setting the bar so high and establishing what we can do for the community.”

Valedictorian Arely Gonzalez also felt the gravity of being the school’s first graduating class.

“It’s obviously a once in a lifetime,” said Arely, 18. “There’s definitely a lot of pressure on us because we are the role models of the school.”

She referred to conversations she’s had with her parents about being the valedictorian.

“I have always told my parents I don’t think I’m the smartest,” she said. “I worked really hard to get here.”

She’ll continue to work hard after leaving high school to study first biology at UT-Austin and later dentistry with a specialty in orthodontics.

She’s more than ready.

“I have been in the dental program at HSHP since 10th grade,” she said. “I have been going out and doing practicums. I got to shadow several dentists. It was really wonderful exposure.”

She and Jaime both seem to have enjoyed their time at HSHP.

“I have enjoyed the people I have met,” he said. “I also enjoyed the interaction that I feel we have with our teachers and administrators. It’s not the same as in a comprehensive high school. We get a lot more time to learn.”

He, too, has big plans for the future. He’ll begin studies at Rice University in the fall. He plans to work toward a doctor of philosophy in biology and then become an MD. These two fields of study will allow him to research diseases while practicing medicine, he said.

“I want to help push medicine forward,” he said. “I want to bring about new cures. I want to be a physician scientist.”

Certainly, these two students and the rest of their graduating class have laid the groundwork for many generations of aspiring physicians to move toward their own futures.

HSHP offers medical training in a variety of fields through classroom work, simulation labs and practicums with health professionals in the community. Students learn from those professionals in the classroom and in lectures. They also take AP classes which prepare them for college.

More Information

WHO: Valedictorian Arely Gonzalez

WHERE: Harlingen School of Health Professions

AGE: 18

PARENTS: Joshua and Sandra Gonzalez

FAVORITE SUBJECTS: Government and Math

ORGANIZATIONS: Vice-President of National Honor Society

Varsity soccer at Harlingen High School

Member of Student Council

Member of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America)

Member of Spanish Club

Member of Lower Valley Cotillion

MENTORS: Teacher Alexa Higginbottom Parents, other family members

FAVORITE QUOTE: “Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.” Author unknown

CAREER PLANS: Orthodontist

COLLEGE: Planning to attend UT-Austin to study biology before pursuing dentistry

WHO: Salutatorian Jaime Ramirez

WHERE: Harlingen School of Health Professions

AGE: 18

PARENTS: Leopoldo and Rebecca Yzaguirre



AP biology

ORGANIZATIONS: Member of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America)

Member of Student Council

Member of National Honor Society

Active in UIL, Current Events, Science

MENTORS: His grandmother, Minerva Salinas, who inspired him to pursue medicine after receiving a lung transplant.

His parents, Leopoldo and Rebecca Yzaguirre

Teacher Alexa Higginbothan

FAVORITE QUOTE: “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” Bob Marley

CAREER PLANS: To become a physician scientist

COLLEGE: Planning to attend Rice University in the fall.

Founded the “Political Club” where students gathered to discuss politics, current events.