Hello! My name is Ana Victoria Guimaraes and I am a part of Doral Academy Preparatory School’s graduating class of 2016. I had the pleasure of attending this Doral Academy for all my years of schooling, from pre-kindergarten to senior year. It is a school like no other. I met all my closest friends within its hallways; fostered lasting bonds with teachers; and grew into the confident young lady I am today.To be honest, I used to doubt my capabilities and I'm not sure I would have achieved what I did without Doral Academy. Freshmen year, I thought I was just an average student with unimaginably lofty dreams. Sophomore year I put my abilities to the test and was surprised by my own success. I definitely can’t take all of the credit: my teachers, friends, and family were there with my through the stressful nights and anxiety-filled test days. In the summer of 2014 my math team placed tenth at the Mu Alpha Theta National Convention. That’s when I began to think: “maybe I can do this.” Junior year proved to be the most stressful and jam-packed of all years; from bi-weekly math competitions, to volunteer events, to fundraisers. This was also the first year I began to participate in my school’s Biological Research Experiment; this is a one-of-a-kind research study that no other high school is conducting. Through a partnership with Doral College, my high school is able to participate in the Methuselah Mouse Prize through which we test the effects of a supplemental food. I felt honored to be one of the 15 select students in the program.
Then came my long-awaited senior year. Besides the regular school activities I partake in, there were all the fun senior activities to bring my class together before we all go our separate ways. I’m not going to lie, senior year was incredibly stressful, but it was also incredibly fun and memorable. On December 11th, 2015 I got some of the best news of my life: I had been admitted to not only Brown University, but into their Program in Liberal Medical Education. My book-reading, sweat, and tears had paid off! But the good times kept coming. I was awarded Doral Academy's Firebird Award for my dedication and participation in both academics and after school activities. It was a night of water works as the teacher that presented it to me cried during his speech, which made me cry, and as I climbed onto the stage even my administrators got teary-eyed. Then, I had the honor of speaking at graduation, which is something I will never forget!
And now, four years later, I can honestly say that the stress of 16 APs, countless hours after school and on weekends spent competing with my math team or volunteering for other clubs, and the social events missed or cut short were worth it. And while I am sad, and somewhat reluctant, to see this chapter of my life come to an end, I am also excited to begin a new chapter this fall at Brown University.
This month, thousands of high school students will graduate from charter schools across the county. We are so impressed by everything that these students have accomplished and can’t wait to see what the future holds. Check back here every day to see a new charter school graduate in our 30 Days of Grad series. Want to share your story? Join the conversation using#30DaysOfGrad.