Midland Valley student hosts academic signing ceremony

May 4—After months of collecting acceptance letters to several top universities across the United States, the choice for Midland Valley High School student Daisy Gonzalez to attend Harvard University was an easy one.

"I decided to apply on a whim. I always told myself that I would apply just to see if I could get in," Gonzalez said. "I've never wanted to live with the regret of never applying and then living with the 'what if.'"

Gonzalez said she chose Harvard in part because its "financial aid made it extremely affordable" and because she felt that she could fit into the school and grow as a person and a student.

The senior, with a 5.395 GPA, is no stranger to academic excellence. In addition to being in the running for class valedictorian, she already received her associates degree from Aiken Technical College in Arts and Sciences. Midland Valley High School counselors also said that Gonzalez's college total scholarship awards could surpass $1.4 million.

"In our minds, she is a five-star academic student," said Sheldon Higgenbottom, principal of Midland Valley High. "Considering the schools that she is accepted by we just decided that this is what we wanted to do. We've got some special students here, a lot of which are sitting up here and we think the world of and she is one of them too."

"I never would have thought that as the daughter of immigrants that I would have the chance to attend any of these universities, so I am extremely grateful for everything that my parents have done for me, from sacrificing their lives to emigrate to this country and give me and my siblings the opportunity that we have today," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez is thankful for her Aiken Tech and Midland Valley teachers. She is looking forward to studying at Harvard being a part of the academic environment.

"Were there moments where I thought to myself am I doing too much? Yes there were. But are you really ever doing too much if it gets you into Harvard? I am really appreciative of the community here in the Valley," Gonzalez said. "I couldn't have imagined going anywhere else, and I am just immensely happy to have had the chance to work with so many of the Midland Valley teachers even though half of my classes were with Aiken Technical professors. My teachers from Midland Valley prepared me for the next level and my teachers at Aiken Tech have prepared me for what is to come next."

"We are so proud of her because I never thought that she would get this far and she did it," Gonzalez's father said. "I am so proud of her and so proud of the entire family in each school that she has been into, the staff of when she started at Clearwater Elementary, LBC Middle and then with high school at Midland Valley, all of the staff that works in this school they really work hard with her to help her out to get what she needs."

Samantha Winn covers the cities of North Augusta and Augusta, with a focus on community oriented business and events. Follow her on Twitter: @samanthamwinn and on Facebook and Instagram: @swinnnews.