HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A first-generation college student from Houston's East End is being recognized by Mayor Sylvester Turner and honored with a full scholarship to University of Houston because of his dedication to community service.
Yonatan Mascorro is the 2020 winner of the Hispanic Heritage Youth Activist Award for the City of Houston. Mayor Turner recognized his work as a mentor for students at Austin High School and the work he continues to do as a student at UH.
Loved ones describe Yonatan as smart, funny and someone who inspires others.
His rigorous daily routine starts with 25 pushups "to really wake up" and includes several homework study sessions before his online courses start for the evening. He credits the Academic Achievers program at UH for opening his eyes to opportunities available for higher education.
"It just sounds crazy to me thinking about it," Yonatan said of his parents' decision to come to America from Mexico in hopes of providing their kids a better future. He says thinking about that decision is what motivates him to reach his goals.
Yonatan is a member of the "American Society of Mechanical Engineers" and "Latinos in Science and Engineering." With the dream of becoming a mechanical engineer in his sights, he's encouraging other students with this message: Reach for your highest aspirations.