ATLANTA — A teen from northwest Atlanta just graduated at the top of her high school class and is a role model like no other.
Channel 2’s Berndt Petersen was at the Coretta Scott King Academy, where he learned the teen started kindergarten and didn’t know how to speak English.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
Karen Gamez-Amador says it’s never about where you start. It’s about where you finish.
“When I first started I remember coming home frustrated and crying because I couldn’t understand what others were saying,” Gamez-Amador said.
Gamez-Amador just graduated from the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy. But when she first attended Atlanta Public Schools back in kindergarten, she did not know how to speak English.
- Mother of 15-year-old charged in teen’s death at MARTA station says shooting was not his fault
- Hear ye, hear ye! Go back in time and see this massive castle that just opened in North Georgia
- Level 1 out of 5 risk for severe storms in parts of north, east Georgia today
“It’s hard for me to just say it without tears forming in my eyes because I’m so proud of Karen. Karen has a level of fervor for learning that is like nothing I’ve ever seen,” Leadership Academy Principal Eulonda Washington said.
As Gamez-Amador learned how to speak, read, and write the language, she’d get home from school and teach her parents---who emigrated from Honduras.
“Look at where we are now,” Gamez-Amador exclaimed.
Words from her recent speech to her school’s class of 2023. She is the Coretta Scott King Academy’s valedictorian. She’s fluent in English, Spanish, and very soon French.
“You are leading the way for so many. I’m so proud of you,” Washington told her.
“Believe in yourself. If you know you can do something, go ahead and do it. Not only will it continue to open doors for you, they are stepping stones for something bigger,” Gamez-Amador said.
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]
Gamez-Amador will be off to the University of Alabama Birmingham where she will major in biological sciences. She plans to become a crime scene investigator.
IN OTHER NEWS:
©2022 Cox Media Group