Andrea Mendoza-Smith is one of 27 valedictorians.

What college do you plan to attend?University of Central Florida.”

What is your intended major?Mechanical Engineering.”

What clubs and sports have you participated in? “I am the historian of the Hispanic Student Union, a member of the Math club, peer tutor on the Math Lab, member of the SECME club and Best Buddies. I have practiced Judo since I was 13 years old, I am a competitor from Sasaki Judo Club. Since I moved here in 2017 I have won 2nd place in the U.S. Open Judo Championship 2018 and the Cherry Cup 2019.”

What is your favorite Boone memory? “My favorite memory in Boone is lunch time with my friends. I like to talk, laugh, share stories and take photos with them.”

What is your advice to incoming students? “Enjoy the experience. Make new friends, learn new things and be organized (this is a useful skill that will help you a lot). Also, if you ever feel overwhelmed take a deep breath and keep going because every effort and night without sleep will be worth it.”

How did you find out about the college you are attending and what you want to major in? “I found out about the University of Central Florida while I was attending a STEM career immersion day.  I’m going to study Mechanical Engineering and declare a minor in Intelligent Robotic Systems (IRS).”

What will you miss most about high school? “What I will miss the most about high school is all my friends and the people I met.”

What made you want to be valedictorian? “Challenging myself and making my parents proud it’s what inspired me to be a valedictorian.”

What was the most difficult part about senior year and how did you overcome it? “The most difficult part about senior year for me was applying to college and saying goodbye to Boone before time because of the Coronavirus. I dealt with all these situations with the support of my parents and friends.”

What are you most excited for when you attend college? “What excites me most about going to college is the opportunity to gain new knowledge and becoming a professional.”

How have you dealt with the stress that comes with the process of becoming valedictorian? “I dealt with the stress by doing the things that I like the most: practicing Judo and going out with my family and friends.”

What have you most improved on throughout the four years of high school? “I have improved my ability to talk in public and my knowledge in general.”

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years and what advice do you want to give your future self? “In 10 years, I see myself starting or working on my own animatronics company. My advice for my future self is enjoy every moment and be grateful for everything.”

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