After keeping a 4.0 GPA all four years of high school, learning English and becoming involved on campus, Maria Cortes-Orjuela earned the valedictorian title.

“My biggest achievement was to learn English, managing to have good grades at the same time and processing information from one language to another,” Cortes-Orjuela said.

In addition to learning another language, Cortes-Orjuela joined Spanish Club, Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, Math ClubMu Alpha Theta and Key Club.

“[My fondness memories] are all my Key Club memories. Key Club was one of the few things I did in high school, and I loved it not only because it was a community service club and we helped people, but also because I met all my closest friends through Key Club,” Cortes-Orjuela said.

Reflecting on her time in high school, Cortes-Orjuela felt proud of how she performed in her classes. She struggled in some of her classes, such as AP Chemistry and her history classes, but never gave up.

“There are no limits for those who want to be successful. There are going to be times where everything is telling you that you can’t, but you need to believe in yourself. Look back and admire everything you have accomplished; that will give you the motivation to keep going and conquer even more things,” Cortes-Orjuela said.

Cortes-Orjuela kept her grades up for herself, but also received outside motivation.

“[My biggest motivator is] my mom. We came to this country for a better future,” Cortes-Orjuela said. “She is everything I could’ve ever asked for in a mom. She works endlessly to give my sister and me a better life and I want to make her proud.”

Cortes-Orjuela will attend Valencia and plans to direct connect to the University of Central Florida to major in psychology or social work.

“I am passionate about helping people. I like being involved with my community, and I have so many blessings that I would like to give to others who are less fortunate,” Cortes-Orjuela said.

By Sophia Sanders

I am the Copy Editor of Legend Yearbook, and I am a junior. I'm also on the swim team. On the weekends I enjoy sleeping and watching YouTube. My primary source of protein is Bluebell ice-cream.

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