Updated May 18, 2021 - 12:14 pm
Trelas Dyson IV goes by a few names. Some people just call him Trelas. His friends call him Tre, because, well, it’s shorter. His family calls him Q — short for quad — because he’s the fourth Trelas Dyson.
Now, he’s known across the Las Vegas Valley as the high school student with a 5.037 GPA who got accepted into 59 colleges and earned over $2.5 million in scholarship offers. Dyson, 17, from Shadow Ridge High School, will attend the University of Southern California in the fall.
“I feel like there’s so much to achieve, and so much to go out and do,” he said. “And I love everything that’s been happening recently. And I’m very grateful. I always tell my mom, though, that there’s so much that’s going to happen in the future and so much to look forward to, and you’re going to be extremely proud. And so I’m trying to take it one step at a time.”
Dyson received a $68,897 University Grant to attend USC, and it’s renewable after each year. He also received a $1,500 scholarship through the Ronald McDonald House of Greater Las Vegas.
He estimated he filled out about 80 college applications, but the application fees were almost all covered or waived. He submitted them through QuestBridge, a nonprofit that connects the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading colleges; the Common App, also a nonprofit; and the Common Black College Application. The only school for which he paid an application fee was New York University.
His guidance counselor, Lisa Hebb, has worked at the school for 10 years but never had a student fill out that many applications or receive that many acceptances.
“It was definitely a shock to me, having this stuff coming in,” Dyson said. “And having it come in over such a short period of time. I didn’t know what to expect. And so to have it actually happen? I wouldn’t have dreamed or thought of it.”
From the moment she met him when he was a ninth-grader, Hebb said she was impressed by Dyson. When he briefly considered leaving Shadow Ridge for a magnet school, she not-so-secretly hoped he would stay. And when he did, she was the one who helped coordinate all of his college applications and make sure everything was in place.
“He’s not the kind of kid that just takes classes because he thinks he’s supposed to,” she said. “He truly loves learning and is very interested in so many different topics. For me, I’m just really proud that he has accomplished so much. I am incredibly proud of him.”
Dyson eventually chose USC because of its film program. He wants to learn all kinds of things — content creation, music, filmmaking, you name it. He said USC is a great place to hone those skills, even though his only foray into the Los Angeles area was a trip to Disneyland when he was little.
Oh, and his favorite film is “Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood.”
The road to get here wasn’t always smooth. A few years ago, Dyson’s family moved outside the Shadow Ridge district. While he was able to get an exemption to continue attending the school, he was no longer near the bus stop, and his family didn’t have a car.
So for about a month, Dyson and his younger sister would wake up at 3 a.m., take a public bus in the school’s direction and then walk the rest of the way.
And now, as Dyson readies for his move to Los Angeles, he’s more excited about the future than he’s ever been. So is his mom, Nikia Dyson.
“I know he’s going to make a difference in the world,” she said. “I believe he’s going to make a major contribution. With his positivity, I believe that’s something that’s going to go a long way and that he will be able to share with others.”