RENO, NV (KOLO) A group North Valleys High Seniors is working on the class legacy: a mural that depicts the school's mascot and everything they say illustrates Northern Nevada.
Cindy Hernandez is part of the group. She doesn't really stick out with a brush in her hand, but she's worked hard and has earned the admiration and respect of those around her.
“Actually yesterday when our principal called me in to tell me about this opportunity,” Hernandez says, “I actually teared up in her office and, oh, this is a little emotional, and I wouldn't expect to be here,” she says.
Hernandez says she came to this country at age five from Honduras. She couldn't speak the language and didn't understand the customs. But through perseverance, she grasped English and started to excel in the language beginning in elementary school.
High School, she says, was no problem at first. But the pressures of being a teen started to get her down, and by sophomore year, she says she felt like she was in a rut where she would never remove herself.
But then she says she had an epiphany.
“You can still do this. Everyone is smart. And I believe this,” says Hernandez.
Those who know her say she's one of the most positive people you could meet. She extends herself to others and says she knows a majority of the 424 seniors pictured on a hallway at the school. After all, she is class president.
Ask who is her most influential teacher at North Valleys, Cindy will tell you Debby Shaw, the AP Language and Composition teacher.
“No matter what she does, she is going to be a tremendous leader in whatever community she is in,” says Shaw. “I want her to teach because she is a natural. But I think she will do what she has done for us, which is connect people. And you know in a world that is so divisive right now that's what we really need,” she says.
She will not graduate first in her class; she will not enter UNR as a sophomore because she has so many AP classes under her belt.
Cindy Hernandez is recognized not for grabbing the brass ring, but instead for extending her reach and herself--for daring to try.
Copyright KOLO-TV 2019