Krista Deans

SWAG on 6: Monarch High School's Rebecca Chery

Some high school students know how to make waves among their classmates in all the right ways. Rebecca Chery is one of those kids.

"I think of myself as hard working but easy going, and just ready for any kind of challenge," Rebecca said, describing herself.

The junior at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek has been meeting challenges all her life. Her Haitian immigrant parents speak almost no English, they don't have much money, they can't help with homework, but Rebecca found a way to excel, anyway.

"There are opportunities out there so that you can succeed and nothing should stop you," Rebecca said, explaining her philosophy of perseverance.

Her older sister pushed her academically, and now Rebecca is ranked eighth in her class and on her way to MIT for a prestigious summer science program.

"I think she's a true inspiration to the school," said guidance director Tom Weber. "You know, she's extremely intelligent but she's humble, and she's not going to impose herself on people but just through her actions, she's a role model."

Rebecca's classmates look up to her, seeing the role model Mr. Weber described.

"When I see someone who has that kind of work ethic and who's actually working toward her goals instead of just talking about them, it motivates me to want to do the same," said classmate Janet Lopez.

Rebecca is the kid who's always being asked for help.

"She inspires a lot of people, like I see people come up to her and ask her for help, like, 'Hey, I don't know how to do this,' and she's always hands-on. She's always ready to help people," said classmate Meghan Coote.

Excelling academically on her own isn't enough for Rebecca. She's drawing on her own life experiences, growing up economically disadvantaged, to help other kids who are in similar situations.

"They don't work as hard as they feel like they should, they feel that it's not worth it and because of their home life that it's not gonna get better for them and that's why I created the outreach program to prove that they can do whatever they want to," Rebecca explained.

She recruited her friends and they formed a new organization at school, Monarch Minority Leaders. The club's goal is to pair at-risk classmates with adult mentors in the community and student mentors at school. It's all about providing support systems.

"So with this outreach program I want to create that support system for other kids so that they can be motivated to excel."

Rebecca wants to be an engineer someday, possibly a computer engineer. She's already programmed for success, and now, Rebecca is sharing the code with her classmates.

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