FONTANA, CA – Two high-achieving Summit High School seniors are one step closer to earning a full-ride scholarship to an elite college or university after being named QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship finalists.

Gabriel Rodriguez Cortez and Joleen Wardeh are among nearly 7,000 students across the United States chosen as finalists, including nine additional Fontana Unified seniors. Finalists are considered for early admission and full scholarships from QuestBridge college partners.

“I am so excited for our QuestBridge finalists, who have put so much time and energy into their studies,” Summit High Principal Renee Castanon said. “I have watched Joleen and Gabriel grow into role models and campus leaders and I could not be prouder of what they have already accomplished.”

Rodriguez Cortez plans to study electrical engineering and put his knowledge to practical use by developing new technology for space exploration and other applications. He is a member of Summit’s Positive Minds club, has been an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) student since freshman year, serves as secretary for the National Honor Society and is a member of Chemistry club.

“It feels great to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Rodriguez Cortez said. “I never thought I would one day compete for a scholarship of this magnitude. Receiving the QuestBridge would mean all the work I have done has been justified and that I have taken a great step towards achieving my future goal of leading engineering projects for companies on the forefront of technology.”

Wardeh is a Syrian-American first-generation college student who hopes to major in human biology, then attend medical school before pursuing a career as a physician specializing in internal medicine. Wardeh serves as a Link Leader for Summit’s Link Crew, and is a member of Summit’s Positive Minds club, volunteering at elementary schools on weekends and acting as treasurer during junior year.

“It feels incredible to be a finalist,” Wardeh said. “I feel like I have reached a great accomplishment and am proud of myself. To receive the QuestBridge would mean that I have an opportunity to attend my dream school, and I would know that all my hard work has finally come into play.”

The QuestBridge National College Match is a college admission and scholarship process through which high-achieving, low-income students can be admitted early with four-year scholarships to QuestBridge college partners. Finalists will learn if they have been chosen by a QuestBridge college partner on Match Day, set for Dec. 1.


FUSD_SUMMIT_QUESTBRIDGE: Summit High School seniors Gabriel Rodriguez Cortez and Joleen Wardeh have been named QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship finalists, placing them one step closer to earning a full scholarship to an elite university.