History Made: GPISD grad Gabriel Barrero gets West Point Scholarship

By Allan Jamail

Jacinto City, TX. – June 8, 2023 at State Representative Ana Hernandez’s district office Gabriel Barrero received a congratulatory certificate from Hernandez on his acceptance of a full four year college scholarship at the West Point Military Academy.

Representative Hernandez says, “Congratulations to Gabriel Barrero on your appointment to West Point Academy! We are proud of your achievements and your commitment to serving our country.”

Mrs. Sandra Rodriguez, Principal of Woodland Acres Elementary School, reached out to me and informed me that Gabriel Barrero her former student had received a scholarship and was accepted into the West Point Military Academy (WPMA). She said Gabriel was the first GPISD student ever to be accepted into the WPMA. He graduated high school with a 4.604 average.

Gabriel said, “I decided I wanted to go to the WPMA in 6th grade when I was talking with my mom about universities. She encouraged me to select something that would allow me to live away from home and develop as an adult. When she mentioned West Point, I was sold on it.”

“My grandfather served in Korea and my great-grandfather served in World War II, they had enlisted in the Army. The idea that I could continue the legacy of service to my country became a big motivator,” he stated. When asked if he applied for scholarships to other universities he replied he had not, he was set on going to the WPMA.

His mother Alaide Zavala, the Assistant Principal of Woodland Acres Elementary, was recently awarded by the GPISD as their Assistant Principal of the Year. He said, “My parents are my biggest supporters and have helped keep me motivated, fit and focused on being successful.”

To be accepted, Cadet Candidates must be student scholar athletes with high standardized test scores, exemplify leadership qualities, and be a servant to their community. Additionally, Cadet Candidates must receive a Congressional/Service-Based Nomination. And pass the Candidate Fitness Assessment and pass the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board to ensure there’s no disqualifying medical condition.

Applying for West Point (WP) is a year long process; applicants begin applying in their junior year. Approximately 12,000 Cadet Candidate files are opened, 4,000 receive a nomination, and 1000-1200 are admitted.

Gabriel is 18 years old, a registered voter and in school he played the saxophone in the Galena Park Band of Gold. His hobbies are listening to Alternative/Indie music, listening to audio books, working out. His favorite food is pizza with pineapples on it; his favorite actor is Matt Damon. His favorite college football team is Army (of course) and his pro favorite team since age 5 is the NY Jets.

Gabriel said one of his mentors is John Polisini. “He is the man who changed my life by being real with me. He is a Field Force Officer who assists in the West Point Admissions process. I met him upon entering an admissions meeting and ever since that day, he has been a huge part of my life. He challenges me daily to be the best version of myself. Even after receiving my nomination, I see him every weekend as we are now working with another student to try to get her to be the first female from GPISD to attend West Point,” he stated.

His advice to others is: “To anyone who feels that they cannot achieve that impossible goal, please know that you can. You just need to dig deep, even when it hurts or when it is convenient for you not to. After all, why not you?”

Mr. Gabriel Barrero will be at (WP) for the next four years, and is making WP his career, upon graduation, he will be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army. He plans on pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering.