Hoover High Sophomore's Drive to Succeed Pays off with New Car

Isaac Blanco, a sophomore at Hoover High School, is the lucky high school student rewarded for his straight A's with a brand new 2016 Toyota Corolla as part of the Big Fresno Fair's 4.0 and Above program.

Isaac was announced as the winner at the fair Oct. 5. He is not 16 yet so will have to wait a bit to actually get behind the wheel. He was shocked and ecstatic when his name was announced.

Isaac wants to be an engineer, with plans to apply to Fresno State University or the University of Southern California when he graduates.
Greg Boden, Isaac's academic counselor, said Isaac is a highly motivated student who has worked hard to achieve good grades. He also credits Isaac's mom, Juanita Rios, for staying involved.

Rios is proud of both Isaac and his twin brother, Harvey, who also has a 4.0 GPA. She believes her family's faith in God and her daily encouragement to "aim high" has contributed to their academic achievement.

In addition to earning good grades, Isaac wrestles and plays football. Finding a balance between academics and sports can be challenging for any high school athlete, but JV football coach Shannon Pulliam says playing football teaches discipline, teamwork and builds character.

"Students are part of a team and must work together to be successful. This is doing something bigger than yourself," Pulliam said.

At first, Isaac did not enjoy football, but now he loves playing his defensive linemen position.

Achieving a 4.0 GPA and being a student-athlete can be challenging. Isaac has three tips for academic success:

1. Do your very best. Don't slack off. Just do your work.

2. When you are struggling or falling behind, go to your teachers to ask for help. Teachers are there to help you. Just follow what they say.

3. Set goals. Set your mindset. Believe that you can do it.