LFHS Valedictorian Spotlight: Mariah Gutierrez

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by Ronnie Zamora/LFCISD

Class Rank: Valedictorian

Parents: Rolando Gutierrez and Patricia Ann Salinas

Siblings: Stephanie Gutierrez, age 22 and Rolando Gutierrez Jr. age 16.

Previous schools attended: Los Fresnos Elementary, Liberty Memorial Middle School

College: Texas State University

Major: Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry

Inspiration for academic success: Being a first-generation student, my family had the greatest impact in molding my drive to success. Facing unfortunate circumstances, my mother didn’t attend high school past the ninth grade. However, she exemplified her strength by graduating from the police academy to follow her dreams. My father’s tough childhood prompted him to gift his children everything he never had. Through their experiences, my parents learned the importance of supporting their children and made sacrifices to ensure my siblings and I never faced the obstacles they did. Although they didn’t earn degrees, they became my ultimate inspiration to alter the stigma that shadowed over my family for generations, changing their perceptions on education, life, and the world. My family became my rock to build my perseverance and mold my values. My motivation stems from my passion to empower and encourage not only my family and friends, but our entire underprivileged community as a role model and leader.

Study habits: Greatly involved in both academics and extracurricular activities, I learned the importance of time management. Completing the majority of my work at school, I do not stay up late or get up early to finish school work. I attempt to finish my assignments as soon as I get home from clubs to have time to myself. Having everything done, I can freely make plans with friends, binge watch Netflix, or watch endless conspiracy videos. I work hard to become skilled at my time management to have fun by focusing on my hobbies and interests outside of school while planning and keeping up with school work.

Plans after college: Following my bachelor’s degree in chemistry, I plan to attend graduate school to earn my degree as a medical doctor. After, I will pursue an anesthesiology residency.

Career plans: Having a degree in chemistry, I realize my range of career options are very wide. I plan to work in the medical field, specifically as an anesthesiologist. Through the connections, and benefits of the Terry Foundation, I will discover my true career path in medicine.

Advice to younger students to succeed academically: The foundation that builds one’s ability to succeed academically lies within mental health, skills, and experiences. Prioritize your entire life. Prioritize your time mainly, as it is the most valuable gift. Gain the skills to make you a leader through not merely academics or position titles but actually making a difference. Make time to find yourself through new experiences with an open mind by pushing past boundaries and norms. Surround yourself with others that make you laugh until you cry. Do not focus so much on breaking yourself for a label, but instead work on succeeding for your happiness with those who genuinely support and value you. You will face decisions and obstacles that test you; however, they will be ultimately beneficial by building your strength and perspectives. As Jay-Z once said, “You learn more in failure than you ever do in success.”

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