students making a difference

Students Making a Difference: Meet Javier Pratdesaba From Everglades High School

He’s earned straight A’s since freshman year, on track to be the valedictorian, and he spends much of his time tutoring his classmates.

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Some kids excel at just about everything.

Like Javier Pratdesaba, for example. A senior at Everglades High School in Miramar, Javier received his Cambridge diploma last year, a year early. He’s earned straight A’s since freshman year, on track to be the valedictorian, and he spends much of his time tutoring his classmates.

“I’m doing my best to leave a legacy of giving help unconditionally and by that, I mean giving students help whenever they need it,” Javier said.

His classmates tell us it’s not just talk, Javier really is the kid everyone can turn to for help. Zamia Hudson told us without Javier’s tutoring sessions, she would never have passed a state assessment exam.

“He’s an inspiring person, he inspired me to believe in myself, basically, because I didn’t believe I could pass that test,” Zamia said.

Meanwhile, Javier found time to establish the mathletes team at his school and to lead the science honor society. He also plays piano and flute in the concert band.

“I’ve had tons of bright kids, I’ve had tons of kind kids, it’s rare that you see a combination like him, he is kind, he is humble, he is brilliant,” said Monica Wozniak, one of Javier’s teachers.

Javier also has a little family rivalry in the senior class. His sister, Yvette Pratdesaba, is currently ranked third in the class. They’re not twins, though. Javier skipped a grade.  

“You know I’m the older sister but I’m just proud to say that my little brother, he is so inspiring, he’s always motivated,” Yvette said.

So there’s the friendly competition with his sister, there’s the constant push from parents and teachers and there’s another factor that motivates Javier as well: he came here from Guatemala in 4th grade, speaking minimal English.

“I went into my first day of fourth grade really scared, really nervous,” Javier said.

So Javier relied on the tried-and-true immigrant formula of working extremely hard to overcome obstacles.

“I hope that my success throughout my education and hopefully throughout college delivers the message that regardless of where you came from you can succeed as long as you put in effort, hard work,” Javier explained.

He wants to be a biomedical engineer one day. Javier knows he’s a role model for immigrant kids. His philosophy, garnered through personal experience, is that everyone can try hard, even if they’re not blessed with his brilliance.

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