One day, Maya Flores’ history teacher asked her students to fill out an application for a scholarship. With the scholarship, students could win an all-paid trip to France and they only had to write a 500 word essay. Like the rest of her class, Maya filled out the application. She didn’t find out for some time, but later, Maya’s teacher informed her that she had won. In March 2016, Maya was awarded the Bruhn-Morris Foundation Normandy Academy Scholarship. The trip occurred that following summer. After meeting with the other scholarship winners in New Orleans, the students had the opportunity to visit the city’s National WWII Museum, travel to Paris, and then travel to Normandy to see where the D-Day invasions occurred. “We saw the coolest stuff. I met this woman, she was 16 during World War II and she was part of the French resistance.” Maya described how the woman’s story and bravery as a spy, was one of the many inspiring parts of her trip.
Maya has always had an interest in history, and her trip to France reinforced her passion. As high school comes to a close, she is preparing to attend Hollins University to study either international studies or political science. “I think that we all need to be as politically aware as possible, especially right now,” Maya said. “I was talking to a professor at Hollins where I’m going this fall, and he said that international studies is a good fit for somebody who really just likes all of the humanities and you can pick a focus that you really enjoy.” Some of the options she is looking forward to choosing from include policy making, politics, history and international business. Along with their international studies major, Maya chose Hollins University over other schools because of the financial package they offered, and the many good things she heard about the school. She described the school, which is in the mountains, as a beautiful campus.
While she is still in high school, Maya works to maintain a 3.9 GPA. Participating in extracurricular activities is her favorite thing to do. She is a member of her school’s newspaper staff, works in the writing center and started her school’s drama club. As the president of the drama club, Maya was able to build leadership skills and help establish club rules and traditions. While at Richmond Community, Maya learned how to work hard, study, be self-disciplined and productive. These are qualities she hopes to take with her to college. Outside of school, Maya works at a Café and volunteers at St. Marks Soup Kitchen. “There’s so many food deserts in Richmond and it just astounds me every day when I’m at work and I have to throw food away, and then I go to Soup Kitchen and there’s people who can’t eat,” Maya said. “So working at Soup Kitchen has just made me really aware of hunger.”
One of Maya’s biggest inspirations in life is her father. When he was younger than she is now, Maya’s dad immigrated to the United States from Mexico. “He worked his way up from dishwasher to manager at a restaurant and he’s been the manager of the restaurant for 20 years,” Maya said. “I just think it’s so impressive because I couldn’t come to a different country by myself where I don’t know the language.” Along with always working hard, Maya’s father always encouraged her to go to college. Now that her high school years are coming to a close, Maya will do just that to pursue her dreams.