Washington Heights teen bucks peer pressure, stays on college prep track and is accepted to Penn State | NY Daily News

By / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Washington Heights Teen Accepted to Penn State

David Cruz, 17, of Washington Heights proudly displays his acceptance letter from Penn State University, and is the first in his family to go to college. Photo: Norman Y. Lono | NY Daily News

David Cruz grew up in Washington Heights and his friends didn’t talk about college – or getting an education.

But encouragement from his mother, his participation in a Harlem-based college prep program and his own determination has Cruz heading for Penn State.

“I’m pretty excited. I can’t really stop thinking about just going there already,” said Cruz, 17, who will be the first in his family to go to college. “It’s pretty overwhelming. It’s a lot to look forward to.”

Cruz, a senior at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in Harlem, plans to study engineering when he starts college in the fall, and he hopes his college plans will inspire others in his neighborhood.

“My friends didn’t talk much about college or education. They were just interested in doing sports and hanging out in the streets,” he said, adding he also participated in wrestling, football and the JROTC program.

But Cruz received some advice from his mother that stuck with him.

“My mom would tell me to focus on school,” he said. “I tried putting my thoughts toward things that would benefit me.”

Read more: Washington Heights teen bucks peer pressure, stays on college prep track and is accepted to Penn State   – NY Daily News.

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