“My parents didn’t expect me to go to college, but I want to make them proud,” she said.
Miroslava Lopez started pre-K knowing no English, yet graduated from Dalton High School with AP and IB distinctions. Miroslava was invited to speak at the Brookwood 5th grade graduation ceremony, her alma mater, to tell her inspiring story. Her message to the students was to work hard, ask for help when needed – a sign of strength, not weakness – and never give up.
Miroslava plans to study pre-law at Berry College on scholarship. The challenges she has faced in life have framed her college acceptance as her biggest accomplishment. "My parents didn't expect me to go to college, but I want to make them proud," she said.
Because her parents have not seen their parents in 17 years, Miroslava knows there were sacrifices made to give her family the opportunity to live the "American Dream." She thinks about becoming an immigration lawyer in order to help people see their families again – a passion close to her heart.
Miroslava feels confident she would make a strong lawyer and says she is known around DHS for speaking her mind, being interested in politics and standing up for her opinion. She was a member of student council, the Philosophy Club and JROTC, where she finished with the rank of captain in Company XO.
The advice to always ask for help that Miroslava delivered to the Brookwood students comes from her own experience seeing that close friends and teachers were there for her when she needed it and gave her faith that everything would be OK.
Teachers Steven Holmes ("Mr. Mouse" as she called him) and Mary Kiker at Brookwood got her excited about school at a young age; Teresa Harper became a friend and was always there to encourage her at DHS; and, the rest of her IB teachers got her to where she is now. "I owe getting into college to my teachers," she said.
Miroslava will miss the friends she made through the IB program once she starts college, saying, "The IB students were people who never expected to get close, but after two years together we became very close friends." She said her "second family" of friends encouraged her to never give up and helped her through hard times.
Just like Miroslava credits the support of her teachers for her success, they, too, can credit her for being a role model who set a positive example for younger students, challenging them to work hard and follow their passions.