Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Blue Ridge Scholar is Harvard Bound

Submitted by Cathy Sliwoski, PR assistant, Blue Ridge Community College

See how this sounds: graduate with an associate’s degree from Blue Ridge Community College in May, receive a high school diploma from Harrisonburg High in June, and top it off in August by enrolling … at Harvard University. Sarai Perez Camacho is living that dream.

“When I was younger, I was obsessed with reading, carrying books with me everywhere,” says Camacho. “Reading was like getting transported to different dimensions of reality, and it caused me to love learning later on in life.”

Camacho participated in the Blue Ridge Scholars program, a cooperative effort between BRCC and Harrisonburg High School, in which selected high-achieving students can earn both a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree in College Transfer simultaneously. Students attend college classes on campus in the morning and return to their high school in the afternoon.

Camacho applied to eight top-tier universities and received acceptance letters from seven (she got in to Yale, too!) but Harvard won the day. She plans to study biomedical engineering and pursue a career designing prosthetics. Having three older brothers in the military and having contact with wounded veterans helped set her on this path.

“I really enjoy software design because I see that as the future of prosthetics, and being able to study how to move machines with the mind,” the 18-year-old says.

Camacho’s parents are deservedly proud, and her older siblings (all eight of them!) are thrilled with their baby sister’s achievements, but their good-natured teasing is keeps her humble. Camacho looks forward to attending an admitted-students’ weekend soon, and is excited to choose from three different orientations for new students in August.

Having always lived in Harrisonburg, Camacho anticipates some “wow” moments when she gets to Harvard’s ivy-covered campus.

“I’m excited to be exposed to a whole new world, but it’s kind of scary, too.”

BRCC’s Sarai Perez Camacho is packing her bags for Cambridge, Mass., this summer.'

Laura Osberger

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