GEISMAR, La. (BRPROUD) – Ascension Parish Schools recently shined a spotlight on the 2022-2023 Students of the Year.

One of those students is graduating from Dutchtown High School this year and her name is Daniela Chavez.

Chavez has an unweighted GPA of 4.54 and weighted GPA of 3.9.

Those grades do not tell the whole story about how Chavez came to be one of the students of the year in Ascension Parish.

Chavez was born in Venezuela and lived in Monterrey, Mexico for ten years before moving to this area.

The student of the year went to Dutchtown Middle School before attending Dutchtown High School.

Chavez said that when she first moved to the United States, “she hated going to school.”

The school system and language were barriers to overcome and she “felt lonely most of the time before developing anxiety and depression.”

Friends helped Chavez overcome those challenges and now she tries to get the most out of positive and negative experiences.

With a positive outlook, Chavez has undertaken the goal of helping those who are new to this country through a program called, Be the Buffalo.

Chavez participates in the activities highlighted below:

  • Hispanic Representative for an on-campus organization called Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Enjoys sewing, embroidery, painting, and drawing
  • Volunteers at Baton Rouge General Hospital in Ascension Parish

The student of the year enjoys learning new things through classes like Food Science.

Her favorite subjects are physics and science. Chavez said she likes “science because I think it is a combination of reading and mathematics.”

When asked who her favorite teacher was, Chavez shined a spotlight on one of her teachers named Ms. Marissa Bejarano.

Ms. Bejarano “recognizes not only our strengths but our shortcomings and helps us overcome those weaknesses while supporting our talents and strengths,” according to Chavez.

So what does the future hold for this student of the year?

College is in her future and Chavez has applied to Vanderbilt, LSU, NYU, and LA Tech.

Chavez will be bringing many positives to whatever college she decides to go to.

Dutchtown High School Assistant Principal Gina R Rachel summarized what makes Chavez so special.

Assistant Principal Rachel says, “Daniela gives her best to everything. At times when others may “wing it” Daniela works harder to ensure that she gives everything she can. She is smart and capable but does not use her intelligence to simply coast through life. She is a sponge for knowledge and will re-read as needed and look up words and phrases to get the full meaning, including the figurative language that can sometimes be hard for students who are not native English speakers.”

The assistant principal concluded by saying that Chavez is a quiet leader, calm but focused, studious and helpful to those around her.

While college beckons, graduation will come first for Chavez on Friday, May 12, 2023.