Camacho works for the “A”
In most ways Susana Camacho is like any other Quincy High School student.
Except her story started a little farther south.
Camacho came to Quincy at the end of the seventh-grade from Jalisco, Mexico. After arriving, she had only a couple months to learn English before heading into the eighth grade.
A lack of English skills turned out to be only a minor speed bump for this young woman, who was determined to succeed.
On Friday, the senior will graduate among the top 10 students in her class. If that wasn’t enough, she also will earn her associate’s degree from Big Bend Community College next week.
Camacho is headed to Central Washington University in the fall to pursue a degree in biology. She is one of eight students who received the CWU Presidential Award – a four-year scholarship worth $70,000. She also earned a College Success Foundation award worth $5,000 a year for four years.
“I filled out like 20 scholarship applications, and that was a lot,” an excited Camacho said recently.
Camacho came to Quincy with her parents Armando and Susana Camacho, as well as her older sister, Olivia, and her brother, Luis, who is a junior this year. She also has two older brothers.
“We were lucky because we could have gone to work, but my parents put us in school,” Camacho said. “It was pretty cool.”
At school, Camacho found a mentor in language arts teacher Barbra Holmes at the Quincy Junior High. Holmes did what she could to ensure Camacho learned the language and integrated into the school, the senior said. Holmes sent her home with homework and a dictionary to study.
“Susana came in to my class reading Homer’s Odyssey in Spanish. Her language capabilities were incredibly high in her native language and she was eager to learn. I remember feeling in awe of her desire to learn and her reading level. She was reluctant to speak English in the classroom but I knew that she was learning English and the speaking would come along in time. I gave Susana my personal Spanish/English dictionary that I had been using to help my Spanish development so she would have a handy resource she could keep close.,” Holmes said.
Camacho also immersed herself in high school. As a freshman, she joined the science club, soccer, basketball and the track team. As a sophomore, she was in Science Bowl, Imagine Tomorrow and, most importantly, Youth Action.
“That’s where I invested my time,” Camacho said of Youth Action. “I would volunteer for everything.”
She stayed with Youth Action and Science Bowl for her junior and senior years, but dropped sports to pursue her associate degree at BBCC.
Camacho proved to be a great student; she prides herself on achieving high marks.
“I am proud of my grades, even if I get an A minus,” she said. “I always try for the A.”
She admitted she met her match in a calculus class at BBCC, where she failed a test and had to settle for an A minus for the first time.
“It was the first test I failed in my life,” she said. “I didn’t know it was that hard. I was sad. I lost my 4.0.”
Still, the determined Camacho managed to ace calculus II, earning an A.
So what’s in store for this small-town girl with determination and tenacity?
Camacho plans to earn her bachelor’s degree and continue on to medical school to become a neurosurgeon.
And there’s little doubt she will achieve her dreams. In her time at Quincy High School, Camacho has proven she thrives no matter what she’s faced with.
~Kurtis J. Wood/Post-Register