Graduation 2013 | Private schools
Venezuela native Albert Delgado, who has cerebral palsy, says: "The key is to work hard and stay humble. That's how you get somewhere."
And the 19-year-old, who will graduate June 2 from West Hernando Christian School, already has gone places, perhaps most importantly from public school classes with other disabled students to the mainstream at the private academy.
Delgado was born with cerebral palsy, caused by a lack of oxygen during his delivery in a country with limited medical expertise.
Since coming to the United States at age 5, he has undergone six or seven surgeries to give him some use of his right-side arm and leg.
With a broad, bright smile, Delgado says he didn't realize he was different until about age 10.
"My parents never made me think that way. They're still pushing me to be normal," he said of his mother, Sylvia Vadell, and stepfather, Miguel Vadell.
Albert Delgado's belief: "Just because you're different doesn't mean you can't do stuff; you just do it in a different way."
What are your favorite memories of high school?
"Everyone here, whether I liked them or not, they've always taught me. I've learned that you're either humble or humbled at all times."
Who was the best teacher you had in high school and what made her/him special?
"I would have to say my 10th-grade teacher, Ms. (Cynthia) Zappone. We had a lot of issues in 10th grade, a lot of drama, a lot of arguing. She would always get the class in order and deal with the problem."
What are your plans for college and the future?
"I want to study social work. My goal is to be a family counselor." With a 3.2 grade-point average, Delgado has acceptance and scholarship offers at Southeastern University and at Saint Leo University and has yet to make his choice.
Hernando Christian Academy
7 p.m. Friday, Brooksville Wesleyan Church
Valedictorian Yifei Zhang
Parents: Chaobo Zhang and Zhao Xia Lee
College, field of study: James Madison University, business
Salutatorian Ying Grace Li
Parents: Li Ailiang and Sun Youping
College, field of study: University of Pittsburgh, accounting
Also graduating: Dakota Beck, Subinuer Dilixiati, Brennan Mitchell Dupont, Holly Ann Field, Kaixu Andy Hu, Ying Kelly Jin, Jundong William Liu, Ashley McKay, Stafford Williamson, Zhen Zoe Zeng.
Spring Hill Christian Academy
7 p.m. June 2, Spring Hill Baptist Church
Valedictorian Briana Beard
Parents: Dr. Timothy and Wendy Beard
College, field of study: Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy, pharmacy
Salutatorian Benjamin Wheeler
Parent: Deborah Ricciardi
College, field of study: University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, plastic surgery
Also graduating: Peter Emerson, Rhiannon Johnson, Genesis Olmo, Lauren Padilla, William Rodriguez, Natalie Russ, Jordan Schmitt, Derek Simonson, Ryan Thaxton, Sarah Withington.
West Hernando Christian School
7 p.m. June 2, Northcliffe Baptist Church
Valedictorian Rachel Breanne Bunnell
Parents: Edward and Margaret Bunnell
College, field of study: Pasco-Hernando Community College, then transfer to a nursing school with a minor in missions
Salutatorian Ashley Marie Geiger
Parents: Chris Geiger and Melinda Becksmith
College, field of study: Art Institute of Tampa, then Liberty University with major in fashion merchandising
Also graduating: Brennen Mikal William Britt, Rachel Marie Burkhart, Andrew Joseph Hand, Alex Matthew Raley, David Alexander Rodrigues de Miranda, Jacob Wesley Taylor, Joshua Nichols Woolbright.
Wider Horizons School
9 a.m. May 31, Wider Horizons School
Valedictorian Marie Barte
Parents: Neil and Virna Barte
College, field of study: University of Florida, health sciences
Salutatorian Jeremy Holgado
Parents: Michael and Josephine Holgado
College, field of study: University of Central Florida, computer engineering
Also graduating: Melissa Dam, Alex Hinton, Seok Hoon, Andrew Patel, Sabrina Valentine, Jason Yang.