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Photo: Itzel Luna/ KCAL 9
News and Entertainment

First Generation Mexican-American Itzel Luna Accepted into Five Ivy League Schools

Ivy Leagues schools are notoriously hard to get into and one Latina student based in Los Angeles County recently got accepted into five. Itzel Luna is now going to be a first generation college student after she was accepted into Ivy Leagues Harvard, Brown, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, local CBS stations KCAL 9 reported. Luna’s family hails from Mexico and she’s a senior at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa and lives in Sylmar, both are neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County. Nearly half of the population from Sylmar is Latino and 67.3 percent of students at her high school are socioeconomically disadvantaged.

“I was just absolutely shocked,” Luna told KCAL 9. “All I could do was just keep checking, because I didn’t even know, like I couldn’t process it.” She shared that she hasn’t decided yet where she wants to go but wants to major in communications and political science.

During her sophomore year, she covered the 2019 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers’ strike for the student newspaper.“She’s been working hard for it since the ninth grade,” Adriana Chavira, her journalism teacher, told KCAL 9. “I’ve had her every single year since then, and she’s very determined, persistent.”

Luna has a 3.89 GPA and Chavira told KTLA that she has a passion for journalism and Luna added that she hopes to become a political journalist. By the time May 3 rolls around she’ll have to had to make her decision  but in the meantime she’s researching the schools. According to the high school principal, she’s the only student that they know of who has been accepted to an Ivy League school let alone five.

Of the five Ivy Leagues she was accepted to, Princeton has the lowest population of Latino students, according to data compiled by The College Monk, with just 5.85 percent. UPenn follows with 9.8 percent, Brown with 11 percent, Harvard trails at 12 percent, and Columbia has the largest population of Latino students among the Ivy Leagues she was accepted to with 16. 3 percent.

Luna was accepted into a total of 18 universities including the Ivy Leagues. “She worked so hard for this since she was in kindergarten and we are so happy, so excited that she’s going to make all her dreams come true,” her mom told KTLA.

“I do think it’s important that these stories be shared so that other first gen low-income kids that are maybe in high school right now or even younger to see that, you know, these institutions aren’t just for the wealthy. That you as a low income or first gen kid also deserve to be here,” Luna told KTLA.