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Meet Hernando County private schools' Class of 2013

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

GPA: 3.8

College, field of study: James Madison University, business

Salutatorian Ying Grace Li

Parents: Li Ailiang and Sun Youping

GPA: 3.7

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

GPA: 4.38

College, field of study: Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy, pharmacy

Salutatorian Benjamin Wheeler

Parent: Deborah Ricciardi

GPA: 4.03

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

GPA: 3.925

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

GPA: 3.794

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

GPA: 4.0

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.

Meet Hernando County private schools' Class of 2013 05/21/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 5:38pm]
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