Rosemead High School senior Tristan Tanchanco sees his life as a series of challenges he’s had to overcome, whether it was learning English, editing the school newspaper, mastering the guitar or understanding the intricacies of molecular biology and biochemistry.

Tanchanco’s outgoing personality and ability to weather those and other challenges have earned him a full-tuition Posse Foundation scholarship to Middlebury College, a private Vermont liberal arts and research university known as a “Little Ivy.” Tanchanco will pursue a medical degree and a career as a pediatrician.

“I’ve had a lot of failures in life, but this is one of my best achievements so far,” he said. “I owe this scholarship to my mom and dad, who never gave up on me and helped me learn English because they knew I could be a success. I would also like to thank my teachers at Rosemead, who challenged and encouraged me and helped me achieve through rough times.”

Tanchanco was born in Pasadena but moved with his family to the Philippines as a young child. When he returned as a first-grade English learner, Tanchanco had difficulty making friends. Every night before bed, Tanchanco’s parents taught him English.

Soon, Tanchanco had many friends and began developing a lifelong interest in a wide range of subjects, including science, reading, math, skateboarding and Legos. In the third grade, Tanchanco picked up a saxophone, which he played for years until he discovered the guitar.

At Rosemead High, Tanchanco balances his studies with a passion for the environment and animal rights and a love for the performing arts. Auditioning for a minor role in Rosemead’s musical production of Disney’s “Camp Rock,” Tanchanco was cast in the lead role of Nate Gray.

“I think Tristan is an amazing student. He always strives to do more and better,” Rosemead social science teacher Michelle Ban said. “Currently, he is mentoring next year’s Posse scholarship nominees to prepare them for the interview process. He is very passionate about helping as many Rosemead students earn this scholarship as possible.”

The Posse Foundation is a national nonprofit that identifies students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential, but who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. It prepares students for higher education and careers in lucrative professions and supports them throughout their schooling.

“It has been a pleasure watching Tristan develop into a school leader and now to be rewarded with this tremendous opportunity to continue his education at an elite university,” Rosemead Principal Dr. Brian Bristol said. “Tristan has so many talents and personifies Panther pride. I wish him all the best in his future.”