LAS VEGAS, North — A Rancho High School student in Las Vegas with a 5.5 GPA is heading to Yale University.
On Dec. 2, 2020, Luciano Romero opened the decision letter by himself, not expecting what was inside.
Defying the odds, Romero was accepted -- something he says he didn’t think would happen.
"If you had told me that I would be going to Yale a year ago, I would’ve been in complete disbelief," said Romero.
"Now my idea of what a first-generation, low-income student can do has completely taken a 180," he added.
After opening the letter he ran to tell his father.
"He’s a really smart kid. Whatever he gets, he deserves it," said Herberto Romero of his son.
Luciano Romero and his father say they’ve had to overcome many challenges. They didn’t always have the means to support everything they wanted to do, but they always tried their best and ended up where they are today.
In fact, his sister had to fly him to Florida just to take the SAT during the pandemic. That one test was all he needed.
"His story needs to be told. It’s a tremendously inspiring story," said Romero's teacher, Rueben D'Silva, who is also a Rancho and Yale alum.
"I have students that have already come to me, after seeing his social media post, saying 'Oh he got into Yale! We know he is smart but he’s going to Yale! That’s crazy!'" he said.
"He is really the pride of Rancho High School," D'Silva added.
Romero applied through QuestBridge, a national nonprofit that helps bright, low-income students connect with top schools.
With their help, he is going to Yale with all expenses paid and a full scholarship.
Romero's family is even thinking about moving to the east coast to be closer.
He says he plans to major in molecular cellular and developmental biology. Romero is on a pre-med track, hoping to one day become a physician and help low-income communities.
Receiving his acceptance letter was a "completely life-changing day," Romero said.
To learn more about QuestBridge visit questbridge.org.