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Southeast nets nod from MIT for 2nd year

BRADENTON -- Trailblazer wasn’t the word Southeast High School alumnus Andres Romero used to define himself after he graduated in June and enrolled in Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But the word now applies to the 18-year-old engineering major.

Romero has set a trend that his peer Brandon Miranda, 17, has followed. Miranda is the second Southeast High School student to be accepted to the highly competitive MIT within the last year. MIT admissions officials offered early acceptance letters to only 590 applicants from the pool of nearly 6,000, according to school reports.

“I got into MIT. Now, I get to say I started something,” Romero said.

Both Romero and Miranda were enrolled in the high school’s International Baccalaureate program. Both worked hundreds of hours in the school’s Technology Student Association -- a career technology organization for students that has earned several awards. Plus, both young men used their projects from TSA in their interviews with MIT officials.

TSA adviser Margi Nanney said, “To have one student be accepted is an honor. But to have two, back-to-back, is unheard of.”

MIT was the top choice for Miranda who applied to the school through the early admission process. He visited the university’s campus over the summer. But his anticipation got the better of him right before Christmas.

Admissions officials told prospective students that they would get word about whether they were accepted at 9 p.m. Dec. 16. Miranda was sitting in front of the computer at the appointed time when something unexpected happened.

“The site crashed because so many people were trying to look on it to see,” he said.

So the senior logged out and returned to the site later to see that he had gotten the admissions nod of approval.

“I just received the admissions packet in a tube,” Miranda said about his official acceptance letter that came through the mail.

For Miranda, there are other options to consider now that he has been accepted to MIT. He’s also waiting for word from Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Florida and Yale. For now, he’ll only say he will “most likely” attend MIT.

“You never know what’s going to pop up,” he said.

If he does choose the prestigious school, he’ll have a hometown buddy sharing the campus with him.

Romero returned to Bradenton in December to celebrate the holidays with his family. He’s enjoying Florida’s weather even with the record lows that have hit the area.

His first semester included classes like quantitative formulas and physics.

“It is the best in engineering and I knew I wanted to be an engineer,” Romero said.

Miranda’s goal is to complete his senior year maintaining his hold on the No. 3 class rank at Southeast High School.

“I have to make sure I keep up my good grades,” said Miranda, who wants to be a mechanical engineer.