This Peruvian Teen Makes History as Her School’s First Latina Valedictorian

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Graduation season has blessed us with so many stories of Latino excellence and resilience. And adding to this long list of inspiring young Latinos is Peruvian-born Patricia Granda-Malaver, who made history at her Georgia high school. Among her graduating class of 700, Patricia became the first Latina valedictorian at Collins Hill High School in Suwanee. Patricia has put in the work and dedication in order to be where she stands today, despite people who tried to belittle her along the way. “I remember that someone once told me that Peruvians aren’t intelligent,” Patricia told The Atlanta Journal‑Constitution. “It was a motivation for me to keep studying to prove that just because I am a Latina doesn’t mean that I’m ignorant or dumb. They stereotype us and poke fun at Latinos. Some people just don’t understand my story and what my parents have done.”

Her schoolwork kept her busy, but it didn’t stop her from taking on more duties as the president of her school’s National Honor Society Chapter or as a member of the Gwinnett United In Drug Education. And it’s because of her diligence that she’s earned full-ride scholarships to cover the next 10 years of her education if she wanted it. Patricia received the QuestBridge and Gates Millennium scholarship, both of which go to highly achieving high school students. She plans on attending Columbia University in the fall to study politics in hopes of one day influencing immigration policies herself.

During her graduation, she spoke about her own personal experiences in hopes of inspiring others. “With perseverance, you can reach your objectives,” she said. “I can say this from experience because without perseverance I would not have gone from a former student who barely knew her English alphabet to standing up here as the first Latina valedictorian at Collins Hill High School.”