Student Recognition, The Gates Scholarship Semi-Finalist

Jose Thomas Marin-Lee is a Semi-Finalist for The Gates Scholarship (TGS), one of the most competitive and prestigious scholarships in the world. This is a full scholarship, covering the cost of room and board and tuition. It is awarded to only 300 high school seniors across the country who demonstrate determination, persistence, leadership, and resilience. The Gates Scholarship requires the students to be from a low-income household, a minority and meets a minimum GPA of 3.3-4.0.  Jose serves as a member and president of the SJA Rotary Interact Club, which provides members the opportunity to learn, build and grow through acts of kindness, giving and leadership. In addition to being a part of the Rotary Interact Club, Jose is also a member of the Marist Youth Leadership group. 
    Jose has been accepted into the University of Texas at Austin for fall 2021. He also completed his interview with his dream school, Yale University on December 1, 2020, in hopes of being accepted for the Fall of 2021. To his surprise, the person who conducted the interview is a Brownsville native and Hanna High School graduate who attended Yale University during their undergrad studies. “We connected because we are both from Brownsville and after our conversation, I felt inspired and more confident on wanting to become an immigration lawyer,” says Jose. The decision of aspiring to be an immigration lawyer has a great impact due to the combinations of both the Rotary Interact Club and Marist Youth Leadership. “SJA has opened the door to many opportunities and experiences through the programs offered here. The clubs that I am a part of has allowed me to take action and give back to not only Brownsville but to our sister city of Matamoros,” said Jose. Growing up and living along the border, Jose feels that he has been impacted by witnessing the immigration reform issues for many of the immigrants across the border. “I see the conditions that many immigrants are in and I have seen many wait several years to be able to have an opportunity for a proper trial in the U.S. since the judicial system makes the process extremely long, I want to be able to help these people not only through a speedy and efficient process but by helping them achieve the American dream.” 
    Serving as President of the Rotary Club, Jose has been able to experience various giving back settings including, having been able to collaborate and join partnerships with the Rotary Club from Matamoros to donate food packages during COVID-19. The food packages donated were distributed to a shelter that housed immigrants who were unable to work or leave the shelter. With countless of experiences to share, when prompted to write his application essay, Jose felt it was imperative to write about his journey with the Marist Community. “Being a Marist is more than completing volunteer hours. It’s truly a way of life of the Five Pillars: Presence, Simplicity, Family Spirit, Love of Work and In The Way of Mary.  Being a Marist and living by the pillars, truly shaped who I am today and who I have yet to become,” says Jose. 
    Jose has been selected as a Semi-Finalist for the Gates Scholarship. He is one of 2,000 applicants, from across the country, who exhibited exceptional potential to succeed in college and beyond. “Being a Semi-Finalist not only speaks for me, but for my parents whom have supported me in my education, my teachers who have helped me throughout the journey, my counselor who has guided my direction and last but not least, what SJA has meant to be. I would not have been able to get this far academically and personally if it weren’t for the financial and academic help from St. Joe and my parents,” said Jose. Being a Semi-Finalist is one step closer to achieving a great milestone in Jose’s academic career. “Should I be selected as one of the 300 students for the scholarship, I would be in complete and utter shock. It would mean the world not only to me, but to my family and everyone at St. Joe because it will demonstrate all of my hard work and prove that the investment that my parents made into my education was worth it,” Jose.