Yahir Olivares
Yahir Olivares
Sylvie and Gary Crum Forty Acres Scholarship
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2026
Houston, Texas
High School
SP Waltrip Senior High School

Life is meaningless. That’s the ideology by which nihilism is constituted, yet its path is not defined, since it’s one who may choose their perception to such an idea. Through pessimism, one may live a life that goes unnoticed, but through optimism one may live a life that’s worthwhile, as it leads to self-fulfillment, which can then contradictory give us our meaning to life. Many believe that the safest way of not being very miserable is by not confronting pain. Yet, life is not meant to be played safe, but rather risky, as it’s the payoff behind those risks that are life’s rewards. For example, chasing one’s own passions, pursuing the truth, and even falling in love are all risks, but in the end, they’re all aspects of life worth experiencing. It’s our duty as humans to learn how to minimize these risks for our sake by simply observing and listening beforehand rather than just jumping into them. It’s believed that Socrates once said, “The wise man learns from everything and everyone, the ordinary man learns from his experience, and the fool knows everything better.” Overall, one shouldn’t restrict themselves from attempting to reach a state of self-actualization as not only do we personally benefit from it but so does our society.

Without a doubt, at a very young age it was inscribed in my mind the idea that in order to help those that are most vulnerable, one had to improve one’s own morals, intellectual capabilities, and social life first. But, for that to happen, one not only had to have the right attitude in staying committed to their studies but also guidance. Born in Houston, as the firstborn to Mexican immigrant parents, it was inspiring to see their unrelinquished determination in the pursuit of the American dream. As not only did they strive to better their family’s current living situation, but also that of their children’s future. Their set example while growing up undeniably refined my understanding of being a hard worker, which has also allowed me to experience so many amazing opportunities where I am gracious towards God, family and friends, and others who’ve believed in me so far. I’ve been able to experience studying abroad, becoming an ambassador for the EMERGE fellowship program, and captain of the UIL academics team all while in high school. Yet, these opportunities aren’t the only aspects of life worth acknowledging, as so are challenges. Challenges such as taking care of my younger brothers after school while both my parents worked, obtaining a balance between my social life and academic profile, and understanding the college process as a first-generation student. These challenges did not only help me build resilience, but also form bridges of understanding between issues, people, and even myself. Many believe that challenges are just simple misfortune, but perception has the power to redefine them as tests of strength. On an ending note, I can say that because of such opportunities and challenges present throughout my life, I’ve learned to understand what it means to be blessed, and because of that, I promise to take full advantage of the amazing resources available at the Forty Acres in order to change the world.


What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program?
Neil deGrasse Tyson once said, “I fear living a life where I could have accomplished something and didn’t. That’s what I fear. I don’t fear death.” I saw an opportunity that helped me further my education, pursue my personal dreams, and improve my community as a whole, all without having to place the financial burden of doing so on my parents. It was too great of an opportunity to pass up on and that’s when I knew I wanted to give it a go, and the rest is history. Also, the UT culture, staff, alumni, and students are pretty cool.