Amazing kids are everywhere throughout the Pacific Northwest. We know, because we’ve met a lot of them in 4-H, FFA, at local fairs, out changing pipe, caring for their animals, and at our stores. Every year, the Pamplin Media Group and your Northwest owned and operated Coastal honor some of the most incredible young people around with the Amazing Kids awards ceremony. One of this year’s recipients is Maria Mejia-Botero from Culver, Oregon (a small town just outside of Madras).
Maria isn’t an imposing person. Quite the contrary. But at just 17, this senior has already earned plenty of college credits and has a life goal most people would find truly intimidating. Maria plans to be a big city emergency room surgeon. With her grit and gusto, this amazing kid is going to do just that.
“Our school nurse works as an ER nurse,” Maria said while adjusting her glasses. “I shadowed her one time and really liked it. No day is ever the same. Plus, I’m really into healthcare.”
Her interest in helping others goes beyond healthcare. Maria has volunteered countless hours throughout the 4-H organization. Plus, she advocates for her fellow students, hoping to encourage them to go to college.
This impressive teen’s list of accomplishments, volunteer activities, and leadership roles includes the Juniper Berry 4-H Club, 4-H Teen Leadership, YA 4-H (Youth Advocates for Health) where she helped teach nutrition classes and physical activity to middle school students, youth representative on the 4-H Executive Board, Future Business Leaders of America Club, and as camp counselor at 4-H Camp Tumbleweed, Camp Tamarack, and Oregon 4-H International Camp in Salem. In seventh grade, Maria joined JUNTOS with her mom. The organization is designed to help Latino families understand the college preparation process.
Her daily schedule would completely exhaust most people, but not Maria. She still finds time to maintain a 4.0 GPA, work as a lifeguard at the Madras Aquatic Center, volunteer with the Let’s Talk Diversity Coalition, and take ballet lessons.
“Last year, I took AP US History, AP English, math, and astronomy. Some of those classes were at Central Oregon Community College,” Maria explained. “Next year I’m going to Baker Charter School. I don’t have many more classes to graduate.”
Once she’s done with high school, she’ll be off to college.
“My dream school is the University of Chicago. I’m also looking at Oregon schools and private schools in Seattle and San Francisco. I’m keeping my options open. I just hope I can get a lot of scholarships.”
Maria has already done the math and hopes to be a doctor by the time she’s 29. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from amazing kids like Maria, is that if she sets her mind to it, she can do anything.
Good luck, Maria! We’re all behind you and your future.