Alisson Fortis Sanchez
- Gender: Female
- High School: Montgomery Blair High School
- Hometown: Silver Spring
- State: Maryland
Alisson, the youngest of three siblings, was born in San Vicente, El Salvador, and moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, with her family when she was three. Her mother was unable to continue her own education past the grade school level, because of her family’s financial circumstances. She worked long hours to provide her children with the opportunities she never had.
To honor her mother’s sacrifices, Alisson has committed to doing her best in school and pursuing a higher education. As a senior at Montgomery Blair High School, she maintains a busy schedule with academics, sports, and extracurricular activities. She plays field hockey and lacrosse and is on her school’s swim and dive team. She also writes for her high school newspaper and is a member of the Latino Educational Achievement Partnership, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Class Council, and the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success Program.
The path wasn’t always smooth. A concussion she suffered on the hockey field at the start of her sophomore year ended up affecting her performance in chemistry, at the time. But, she persisted and discovered she enjoys the sciences—particularly biology.
She first encountered HSF while researching an article she was writing for her school newspaper on academic success. She had come across the story of a student whose HSF scholarships had enabled him to attend college. The article opened her eyes to the possibility of getting financial aid for college and motivated her to do further research on scholarships and the other kinds of services HSF offers students.
Last June, she was one of 139 students selected to attend the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s 2016 Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) at the University of Pennsylvania. YLI is a four-day, overnight conference that gives outstanding Latino high school juniors the practical tools they need to set a course for success in college and career.
After attending, she said, “YLI…showed me I’m not the only one--that there are more Hispanic students pushing themselves harder, trying to better their futures…[that] we have so many opportunities.”
Her advice to students thinking about college: “Even if students don’t believe they are qualified enough to be accepted into certain schools, they shouldn’t allow that fear to stop them from applying. Knowing is a lot better than being stuck with a ‘maybe.’”