May 26,
2017

Traditions are very
important to Daniela Lopez, the 2017 salutatorian at Arsenal Technical High
School.DanielaFinal

 

Each morning, she fills up
on a hearty breakfast of either tacos, pancakes or traditional Mexican food,
and coffee, prepared by her mom.

 

“I am very special with my
food,” said Daniela. “Most of the time I don’t eat the school lunch, so my mom
sends me to school with a full stomach of food that I love.”

 

She also begins each day at
church. “Both my parents and I go to church early in the morning from 5 to 6
a.m.; members of our church are there as well.”

 

While breakfast and early
morning church services are longstanding traditions in the Lopez household, Daniela
is blazing a path for a new family tradition she hopes others will follow.

 

When she begins freshman
year at Marian University in the fall, she will be a first-generation college
student.

 

For her, attending college
was a no-brainer. And with a 4.2 GPA, she had her choice of schools. However,
Marian offered the full-tuition scholarship she desired. She will major in mathematics
education.

 

“I love math, it’s easy for me to explain to others; in
general, I enjoy helping people.”

 

In addition to her schoolwork, Daniela is active in her church,
volunteering as a translator during services and managing a classroom of 10-15
school-aged children as a Sunday school teacher. This summer, she’s hoping to
add an internship to her list of accomplishments. She applied to The Indiana
Latino Institute and is awaiting a response.

 

Daniela admits she has come a long way from the young girl adapting to a
new language, who really didn’t know how high school or college worked. But
she’s a quick study. Now, she’s ready to continue making her family proud.

 

She’s also ready to change how she believes the world views women in
today’s society.

 

“As a female, society seems to look at us as nothing more than a person who
stays at home. I want to be a proof and erase those stereotypes,” said Daniela.
“I also really want to leave a mark (so large) that even after I’m dead, people
still remember me with proudness of everything I did.”