LFHS Top 10 Spotlight: Brenden McDonough a Star

LFHS Top 10 Spotlight: Brenden McDonough's Future Bright
Posted on 05/29/2014
This is the image for the news article titled LFHS Top 10 Spotlight: Brenden McDonough's Future BrightBrenden McDonough learned from his parents at a young age that hard work in school would be the foundation to a successful career.

As the third-ranked student in the Los Fresnos High School Class of 2014, McDonough has impressed many more people than just his parents.

"My parents have been the ones who instilled my work ethic, and the idea that hard work and pure dedication would get me wherever I want to get," Brenden said. "Even though there are others who may have certain skills better than mine, as long as I outwork everybody else, I will still come out on top."

The competitive McDonough received the $40,000 Rio Grande Valley Scholar Award from The University of Texas Texas Exes that is supported by UT alumni and foundations, and was accepted into the Business Honors Program at The University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business. He was also recognized as a National Hispanic Scholar by the College Board.

He followed the blueprint laid out by his mother and father.

"I felt like I was guided. They opened up the path for me, and left it up to me to decide if I was going to follow that path," Brenden said.

Brenden has a strong passion for business that was fueled through his participation in the LFHS DECA program, which prepares students for careers in business.

"At first I just went because it seemed like a fun club," Brenden said. "DECA probably set the first spark for the fire that has become my love for business. That really opened the initial doors for the pathway that will be come my career."

He served as DECA President his senior year, and experienced great success at DECA competitions in the district and state level. He twice qualified for the International DECA Competition, traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah, and Anaheim, Calif.

"I went from becoming a shy kid who wouldn't speak in front of three people, to someone with confidence who spoke in New York in front of 2,000 people," Brenden said.

LFHS principal Ronnie Rodriguez selected Brenden to speak at the presentation of the Inspiration Award by The College Board last October in New York. LFHS was one of three national winners of the 2013 Inspiration Award.

"It was truly an honor," Brenden said. There were college presidents there who offered me scholarships, and that trip opened opportunities for me. Presidents from unbelievable schools came up to me and almost begged me to go to their school. You can't put a number on the opportunities that my speech opened."

But he remembers that DECA was the foundation for everything else.

"DECA has raised my confidence, which is one of the most important skills you can have in life, Brenden said. "With confidence, you can do anything. It takes off the roof and lets you go up."

Brenden has always maintained his focus on academics.

"At the beginning, it was 'I want to make my parents happy,' and it's started being, 'I want to build my future' in my sophomore year. That's when I started getting involved all over the school. I started realizing that these three years you spend at this high school are what really determine your entire future."

He even has his own motto.

"My motto is spending a couple of hours of homework until 2 or 3 in the morning for a lifetime of happiness and success is a sacrifice that I'm willing to take."

Brenden has received a prestigious scholarship to the Business Honors Program at The University of Texas at Austin, where he plans to double major in accounting and finance.

"Those are the areas that combine my two favorite things – heavy math and heavy social skills," Brenden. "My highest goal is to work as an accountant for one of the four big accounting firms in the country."

He has also considered the investment banking route, and is keeping that option open. 

With a bright future ahead of him, Brenden will always remember his days in high school, where he participated in many volunteer organizations.

"I was in track and was a pole vaulter, but I wasn't the best pole vaulter, but I had fun doing it."

Brenden's advice for the younger generation:

"The best piece of advice I have would be to become involved in school. It's never too early to start thinking about college. I started months before most people writing college essays, and that made my senior year easier. You should thinking about future. It starts in elementary school. Stop thinking about the two hours of extra fun you're having, and spend that time doing homework and keeping up with your grades."
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