She moved to the United States just over a year ago, and Allison Martinez has already become a force at Hialeah Senior High School.
"I don't have the same head start as others but the fact that I started in the middle of the race, it still makes it amazing that I'm running at the same speed as everybody else," Allison said.
The same speed? One could argue that considering the hurdles in her way, Allison is lapping the field.
"She's just thrown herself in and tried to challenge herself as much as possible since she got here," said college advisor Christine Orfely. "She's surpassing students who have lived here their whole life."
Allison joined the soccer team and she was a standout player. She also got involved in several clubs, but most importantly, she's in the top 4 percent of her senior class. Allison earned straight A's and a full scholarship to the Miami-Dade College Honors College after fleeing to the USA with her mom and brother.
"I have an uncle that was even killed in Honduras, so it was not a place for us to live anymore," Allison explained.
Think about what this powerhouse young woman has done in such a short time. She's perfected English, adjusted to a radically different culture, and every day, she overcomes crushing poverty at home. Behind Allison's easy smile lies a deep well of confidence and strength.
"I don't feel angry, I don't feel bad that others have more than me, because I have something other people might not have, and it's the knowledge I carry with me," Allison said. "My philosophy is that you see the chance, take it, everything is reachable."
Allison's friends all know her backstory, they know the obstacles she's overcome to succeed and you can guess what impact that has on them: they're inspired.
"She makes me believe in myself in some sense because if she can do it and she had all those obstacles then I can do it," said fellow senior Ada Figueredo.
"She makes me find, like, a better version of myself, to be a great student, to be a better student," said classmate Oscar Paumier.
Allison sets the academic bar high not just for immigrant kids, but for everyone.
"The only time I'm going to stop doing what I'm doing is to move every obstacle I have in my way and continue walking straight because my eyes have to always be looking at my goal," Allison declared.
Her goal is to lift her family out of poverty, but first, a college degree in finance. Allison's American dream is just beginning.