PHARR – A group of 16 Pharr-San Juan Alamo ISD 7th grade students participating in the prestigious Duke Talented Identification Program (TIP) were recently honored at the 2018 Duke TIP State Recognition Ceremony for their exceptional scores on the ACT or SAT college entrance exams. The ceremony was held May 17 at Trinity University in San Antonio.

Duke TIP’s 7th Grade Talent Search identifies students across the United States who have scored at or above the 95th percentile on a grade-level standardized test. As part of the program, these academically talented students take above-level college-entrance exams to learn more about their abilities.

Each year, Duke TIP hosts special recognition ceremonies to honor the seventh graders with remarkable ACT or SAT scores. Those with the highest scores are invited to the Grand Recognition Ceremony. Of 48,569 students who took the exams through Duke TIP—all of whom are in the 95th percentile of their grade level—only 2,611 were invited to the Grand Recognition Ceremony.

The 16 PSJA ISD students recognized were as follows:


Ysabella Mireles, Alamo MS


Jorge Delgado, Austin MS


Elijah Garza, Austin MS


Katherine Vasquez, Austin MS


Miranda Ramirez, Escalante MS


Erik Rodriguez, Escalante MS


Elaine Beltran, LBJ MS


Nathaniel Deleon, LBJ MS


Kenya Antuna, Liberty MS


David Granadoz , Liberty MS


Belinda Gutierrez, Liberty MS


Mariana Hernandez, Liberty MS


Alan Ochoa, Liberty MS


Daniel Vela, Liberty MS


Jesus Bocanegra-Amaro, Yzaguirre MS


Angel Hernandez, Yzaguirre MS


In addition to the students recognized, David Granadoz from Liberty Middle School was among the few students from across the nation honored at the Grand Recognition Ceremony at Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium for earning one of the highest scores.

According to the PSJA ISD Director of Advanced Academics Marisela Zepeda, this year 136 PSJA ISD 7th grade students from across the district participated in the Duke Talented Identification Program (TIP). Of these, more than 60 took the ACT exam on February 10, 2018.

"We are very proud of our students who participated in this year’s Duke TIP program and commend them on their successful results," said Zepeda. "The benefits of this academic challenge help prepare our students for the rigors of high school, college and beyond. "