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2018 St. Philip’s Early College High School Valedictorian: Mark Pantoja

Meet Our Valedictorians

Meet our Valedictorian: Mark Pantoja, St. Philip’s Early College High School

Graduation 2018

Meet Mark Pantoja, the valedictorian of the first class to graduate from St. Philip’s Early College High School. Mark will already have his associate’s degree before heading off to Texas A&M in the fall to pursue a degree in computer engineering.

Why do you want to study computer engineering at Texas A&M?
I really enjoy computers and technology. I wasn’t exposed to much technology when I was younger, but as I got older and got my first laptop, I wanted to learn how this was made, how it functioned. When I finish college, I want to be a systems analyst because I love working with computers and servers, and managing systems on a network. I believe that having a college education is important in society for a lot of reasons, one being that it will allow me to apply for higher positions in the fields I am interested in. 

Do you think your time at St. Philip’s Early College HS has prepared you for college?
Attending high school on a college campus has really helped me feel prepared for college. Plus, when I graduate I will already have my associate degree. Courses here are really challenging and I know that I have been able to build a foundation for the future courses I plan to take at Texas A&M. I’ve taken a lot of math at the college level here, and I have also taken some courses with the Information Technology Department such as Windows Configuration and Linux.

What activities where you involved in at St. Philip’s Early College HS?
I was involved with both high school- and college-level activities. At the college level, I was part of the Math and Engineering Club as well as the Eureka Science Club. At the high school level, I was in the National Honor Society and participated in the Cyber Patriots Competition. Being on a college campus opens a lot of doors. It’s different to be a part of extracurricular activities here because you get to know a lot more people outside of high school students.

What was your favorite part of your time at St. Philip’s Early College HS?
I really enjoyed the personal attention and support I received at St. Philip’s. I think the experience here is unique because the classes are small, and I was really able to connect to the community here. We are close, like a family. I have made friendships that will last.