Making the Grade - David Gonzalez (Galena Park High School)

He loves his teammates, and they love him back.

“David has grown in stature and as a person. David as a freshman was very soft spoken, small in stature type kid with great technical ability.  Over the last four years, he’s grown to become a force on the field,” says head soccer coach Chad Monk.

In a word, special. He can play, and he’s got the swag to match. Meet Galena Park star center-midfielder, David Gonzales, admittedly, the best in the district. Gonzales, with his teammates, made big strides at Galena Park, and what soccer has done for David is immeasurable.

“I think it's definitely helped me, especially in the process of becoming more of a leader. I think before I wasn't as vocal. I didn't use my voice as much. I think it's really helped me bring out my more of my leadership qualities and try to use my voice more especially on the field and other areas of life too,” David says.

David will take those lessons to the next level as he graduates this month. Gonzales has great memories and will miss his team and coach. His coach will miss him, too.

“It's nerve-racking losing a kid like him. He's been a great leader for our group of kids. He's helped other kids in the family with academics. He's been a great player on the field. He's probably played the most amount of minutes out of any player in the past two seasons at the varsity level. David was a part of district championship, also led us to the third round of the playoffs last season,” Chad Monk says.

“Last year whenever we were to clinch the district championship, I think we were playing against Willowridge, I scored two freaky goals to win the game for us and clinch the district championship,” David says.

David plans to walk-on and play in college. If you didn’t notice the pullover he’s wearing, Stanford is where he’s taking his talents. Not only is he athletic, he super academic. He’s ranked second in his class – which means he’s been bestowed with another honor.

“It’s really rewarding, I think, all my hard work, all the hours I’ve put in at school. It’s rewarding being named salutatorian in my class,”

David loves math, so much that his math instructor, Miguel Ramirez, says he’s has a big future in the subject.

“It's just the beginning. In the university, he is going to find professors that are going to invite him to the research groups and I’m pretty sure he's going to fall in love from the research. And possibly he’s going to be convinced to have a Master's or PhD,” says math teacher Migul Ramirez.

David says math comes easy because he loves solving problems – a trait that Stanford saw and will continue to develop. The other subjects he masters? Macroeconomics, AP government, English literature, AP statistics, AP calculus and AP chemistry.

He’s made his parents proud – especially mom, who’s worked in the school cafeteria for eight years.

“I’m so proud of my son,” Yanet Gonzalez says.

 And now, as David prepares to depart the nest for Stanford, it’s time to say goodbye.