High school senior who blogs for NY Times gets scholarship

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TOPEKA, Kan. - A Topeka High senior is blogging for the New York Times about the college admissions process. Little did he know, that would help him get a big scholarship offer from the University of Kansas.

Leobardo Espinoza, or "Leo", said he will be the first in his family to go to college. So, why wouldn't he take this offer to be a Jayhawk? The exceptional student said though humbled, it's complicated, and describes his thought-process in a blog.

The 17-year-old blogs once a month. His latest one chronicles a typical Tuesday morning about two weeks ago.  Only, it turned out to be anything but, when Espinoza said he made a class presentation.

"I've never been more dumbfounded then I was in that moment, and most of the time I can find things to say, but in that instance I was just smiling and I really didn't know what to say," Espinoza said.

Representatives from KU presented Espinoza with the David M. Wall scholarship, a four-year scholarship covering tuition, fees and books.

"I realized in that instance, that choosing a college was going to be a lot more difficult," Espinoza said.

Espinoza describes just how difficult and why, in a blog he titled "Is a Full Ride Enough to Upgrade a 'Fallback' School?"  He said there are a list of many other schools he wants to attend.  Stanford, Yale, Amherst College, Brown University and Washington-St. Louis are among them. He said KU is far behind.

"More importantly, I want a new experience for college, so I think that's a bigger reason as to why it's at the bottom of the list," he said.

Patrick Woods, the Director of Advancement for the College of Liberal Arts and Science, said they still want Espinoza.  Woods said Espinoza's blogs helped the fact he got the offer, but the stand-out student with a 4.46 GPA because of his honors classes, has been on their radar for years.

Espinoza said he's still uncertain what his future holds for higher education.

"I even have teachers who say, sometimes they'll greet me at the door and say, 'Hey future Jayhawk!' But as much as I like to think I have a set decision, I really don't," he said.

Espinoza said part of the reason is because he is waiting for March and April, when he'll find out if he has been accepted to any of those other colleges he applied to.

Woods said the scholarship is a four-year renewable scholarship that is only awarded as often as the balance of the fund allows.   He says if Espinoza chooses not to go to KU, which he hopes won't happen, they'll award it to someone else.

You can read Espinoza's blog here.

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