Meet Jonathan Zalamea, a former student of Cunningham Middle School, the 2008 valedictorian of North Shore Senior High School, and a third year resident at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

Jonathan earned his bachelor's degree in Biology, with a minor in Theology, from the University of St. Thomas where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He shared the primary reason he chose to attend UST was due to the fact that they offered Theology classes, which aren't a part of the public school curriculum. He explained that he was interested in learning more about religion. He was also more intrigued by the conflict of interests between science and religion. While attending UST, not only was he surprised that he was among other valedictorians, he was also surprised by how many priests were on campus each day. Even though it was a cultural adjustment for him, Jonathan truly enjoyed the college atmosphere, great support network, and a great group of friends.

After obtaining his degree, Jonathan decided to continue his education at the University of Texas at Houston and pursue his goal of becoming a doctor. During his high school years, he visited his grandparents in the Philippines for the first time. His grandpa, whom he had never met, had a stroke and he was thankful to the doctors who had saved is life. This was a life changing experience which helped him realized that he, too, wanted to become a doctor so he could save the lives of others, allowing them to spend more time with their love ones.

Once he graduates from medical school in May 2016, Jonathan plans on completing his residency at a well-known hospital such as Texas Children's Hospital, preferably in Texas or California. He is seeking the primary care field with pediatrics as his main focus. His desire is to establish a career at an academic medical center where he can work and also teach.

During his first two years of medical school, he assisted with the Med Kids Program by educating second and fourth grade students about medicine, and high school students, at Camp Cardiac, about the heart. After one of the sessions he had heard a student say he wanted to become a doctor just like him and that inspired him to teach. He then proposed the idea to begin a program in GPISD so students here could have the same opportunity to learn and expose them to more options regarding their professional goals. He approached Mr. John Moore, his former principal at Cunningham Middle School and also at North Shore High School Ninth Grade Campus, whom he considers his mentor, with the idea of beginning the Future Doctors Program. Jonathan was excited to learn that this idea was approved, and he is scheduled to visit GPISD's 9th and 10th grade students at NSHS during the first two weeks in July. He will teach a run through of Anatomy and Physiology, and he will also conduct an overview on the steps to get into medical school upon completion of high school. In April 2016, he will teach five different sessions about the human body at Havard Elementary. He plans to return in a few years to finish educating the other campuses!

Although he is devoted to his busy schedule, Jonathan is currently involved in the Catholic Student Association and Sports Medicine Associations. He has a passion for shoes and is a huge football fan who roots for the Houston Texans.

We are very proud of Jonathan, and we look forward to him returning to GPISD to enlighten the rest of our students and help them prepare for their future careers.

Jonathan Zalamea