By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Hector Iturbe has two A’s and two B’s in his classes at Sonoma State University, including environmental science, philosophy and biological anthropology.
He wants to become a neurosurgeon and to keep playing soccer while he studies human biology at Stanford University, where he has applied for early admission.
“I’ve heard it’s tough,” Iturbe said, to balance varsity sports with a rigorous major at the Palo Alto campus.
But the 17-year-old Iturbe seems unfazed by the challenge.
He’s a senior at Elsie Allen High School, ranked first in a class of 247 students with an academic average of 4.45, with only two B’s in high school.
With six advanced placement classes already on his transcript, Iturbe is taking AP calculus, English literature and statistics this semester, along with French 4, leadership and advanced biology.
He’s president of the Elsie Allen Interact Club; founder/president of the Scholar Athlete Club, which helps athletes keep their grades up; and president of Scientists of the Future, a program he started last month at Cook Middle School, his alma mater.
On Fridays, Iturbe presents math and science lessons to about 15 to 20 Cook students interested in those subjects.
“I picture myself there,” Iturbe said. “I think that was me four years ago.”
He played center defender on the Lobos soccer team, which went 11-5-4 this fall, and is now with the Santa Rosa United U-18 Lyon team, practicing three days a week.
He’s also a forward on Elsie Allen’s basketball team, practicing daily.
A resident of northwest Santa Rosa, Iturbe said he chose to attend Elsie Allen in southwest Santa Rosa for the University Center program, which enables him to attend classes two days a week at SSU, where he’s currently taking a sophomore-level biology class.
Iturbe does at least two hours of homework a night, sometimes three hours or more, and said he has no time for TV.
Does he miss TV? “Not really,” he said.
Despite a seemingly overloaded schedule, Iturbe finds time to hang out with friends, including his girlfriend, Lizbeth Barragan, going to restaurants and movies.
Iturbe moved to Santa Rosa from Mexico at age 5 with his family and said he gets his diligence from his father, Ector Iturbe, a construction worker.
The elder Iturbe once attended college in Mexico but had to quit for lack of money.
“My father is very strict,” Hector Iturbe said. “He doesn’t let me fool around.”
You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birthplace: Tuxpan, Michoacan, Mexico
Lives with: Parents, Ector and Marisa Iturbe; sister, Maritza, 21
Favorite music: Pop, rap, hip-hop and mariachi
Favorite sport: Soccer
Favorite move: Avatar
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Career goal: Neurosurgeon
Quote: “It feels like I’m learning algebra all over again,” referring to math classes he teaches at Cook Middle School.