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Hillcrest High – Valerie Sanchez

  • Post category:General News
  • Post last modified:June 2, 2014

Valerie Sanchez this week is graduating from high school – but she already has a resume that would knock your socks off.

All in the same year, the Hillcrest senior worked as an intern for the Utah Attorney General’s Office, and served as the District Governor for the Utah-Idaho Key Club, as a Midvale Youth Ambassador, and as president of Hillcrest’s Latinos In Action.

She’s also a Coca-Cola Scholar, a Yale Young Global Scholar and an AP Scholar – but that’s not what makes her story so amazing.

The most inspiring part of Valerie’s accomplishments is that she did it all as an Peruvian immigrant.  She learned English as a second language and with limited economic resources.

Life’s difficulties never slowed her down – they pushed her to work harder.

“There are so many things you can do in high school to get ahead if you’re willing to put yourself on par with everyone else,” Valerie said recently as she prepared for graduation. “I was always really motivated to go into diplomacy and I know to go into it I would have to go to one of the best schools in the nation.”

To that end, Valerie applied to more than 20 top-tier universities, including Georgetown, Duke, Yale and Harvard.  In all, she was accepted to 14 different schools with offerings of a full-ride scholarship at each adding up to $2.8 million in available scholarships.

She plans to go to Georgetown and major in international politics, but her goals don’t end there. After earning a bachelor’s degree, she plans to earn a master’s degree at Oxford and a docatorate at Harvard – then take over the world.

“I really want to make a change,” Valerie says of the drive that has pushed her to succeed. “I may not have the academic abilities of my peers, but I have the motivation.”

Valerie learned some of her humility from her parents, who moved to America from Peru when she was little. Neither of them received any formal education, but they both worked hard at their jobs as janitors to provide for Valerie.

Still, their combined income is about $45,000, Valerie says, and the Sanchez family did not have the economic status to provide Valerie the kinds of connections, opportunities and extra-curricular tutoring that some of her peers may have had.

Nevertheless, Valerie was determined not to let anything keep her from her dreams. Her story doesn’t end with graduation – she’s just getting started.

“I believe the journey is never over,” Valerie says. “I know this is just the beginning.”