A scholar who has become a true testament to the Union City education system, Mauricio will join the rank of great leaders who have crossed Harvard yard, including John Adams, Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and even current President George W. Bush (who attended the business school).
Mauricio received his acceptance letter on April 1.
"It was a sense of exuberance and relief," said Mauricio, who had been working toward getting into an Ivy League school since the beginning of high school. "This is a culmination of everything that I have worked for in four years of high school."
While some students spend their summers at the beach and working part time, Mauricio enrolled in rigorous scholastic summer programs at places such as New Jersey Institute of Technology and Brown University. From the time he entered Emerson High School, Mauricio set his aspirations on Harvard, or at least the Ivy League.
"I always set my goals high, because if you set them high and put forth the effort, then you will succeed," said Mauricio. "It's a combination of hard work, and coming from a very urban background, I am grateful for all the opportunities I have been given."
Harvard, located in Cambridge, Mass., accepted a very small percentage of its applicants this year - fewer than one in ten.
In addition to his acceptance, Mauricio is also a semi-finalist for the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which in the past has given students full tuition coverage for their tenure at Harvard.
Finishing high school
With Harvard already in his future, Mauricio can focus on completing his senior year and working on his speech for graduation. He will be this year's valedictorian.
"I am just going to focus on my AP exams and working on my graduation speech, and in college I pretty much plan to major in economics," said Mauricio.
With his economics degree, Mauricio hopes to pursue the world of business or law.
"I'm leaning towards business law, but I want to use my freshman year to see what fields I can pursue," said Mauricio.
Mauricio's interest in economics was first sparked in the sixth grade while attending Woodrow Wilson School, where he first participated in a Stock Market Strategy game. Over the following summer, he began to pick up the financial section of the New York Times, wanting learn more about the corporate business world.
"Most of my economics foundation has come from Woodrow Wilson," said Mauricio. "It was a great starting foundation for my economics career, and Mr. Treanor [principal of Woodrow Wilson] was just a great role model."
There weren't many classes about business and economic available at Emerson High School, so Mauricio began attending summer scholastic programs that would introduce into the basics of the business world.
During the summer after his freshman year, Mauricio participated in the Junior Statesmen of America Foundation, where was able to take courses in American government and speech at Yale University.
"It opened my eyes to the world of politics, and it was at Yale University," said Mauricio. "It was the first time I was able to witness what it was like to take classes at an Ivy League university."
The following summer, he attended economics and psychology courses at Brown University. And throughout the past two years Mauricio was also attending Saturday courses in physics, pre-calculus, and calculus at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in a program sponsored by the Union City Board of Education in partnership with NJIT.
Along with his academics, Mauricio also developed a well rounded set of extra-curricular activities, including joining the National Honors Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Project Bulldog, and captain of the indoor track team.
"I joined to keep myself busy and to always have something to do, and I think it's important to have a well rounded and diverse set of extra-curricular activities if you want to be admitted into an Ivy League school," said Mauricio.
Union City's success
In addition to being accepted into Harvard University, Mauricio was also accepted into the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business), Brown University, Columbia University, Rutgers University.
Over the last few years, many students in Union City have been able to enroll and complete their undergraduate degrees in various prestigious universities throughout the country. Mauricio is the first Hispanic male from Union City to be admitted to Harvard.
"We're just a shining example of the education in Union City," said Mauricio. "It's a lot of hard work, but it has been proven time and time again. We are just as bright as any other student around the country, and once students realize their abilities and put in the hard work, that's all you need to get in."
"Students that gain admission to Ivy League and selective universities from the Union City School district are a testament to their potential, ability and determination," said Nellie Chapman, assistant principal for academic programs at the school. "I am enormously proud of their achievement and I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to work with these students."
After putting in many years of hard work, Mauricio has earned himself a well-deserved break, and is just looking forward to the future.
"I am just going to relax and get ready for [what promises to be] a great experience," said Mauricio.
According to Harvard's official website, "Harvard College was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony, and was named for its first benefactor, John Harvard of Charlestown."
Harvard celebrated its 350th anniversary in 1986. It has 18,000 degree candidates, including undergraduates and students in 10 principal academic units.