Oscar Leyva spent the first half of his life in Ecuador serving as a missionary with his parents, who are both pastors. It wasn’t until five years ago that the family moved back to the United States. Their son, then in middle school, only spoke Spanish.
In his freshman year at Tokay High School, he was enrolled in an English support class. English teacher Jennifer Cassel noticed his intelligence, work ethic and potential and encouraged him to take pre-Advanced Placement (AP) English his sophomore year. Though he was discouraged to by others, Leyva took Cassel’s advice and scored straight A’s in advanced English throughout high school.
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