SAN ANTONIO – Great Graduate student Izabella Monreal, from St. Phillips Early College High School, graduated as valedictorian, and overcoming difficult times.
In 2010, Monreal’s father was wounded in Afghanistan.
“It was hard to watch him recover because before then, his dream was to be a drill sergeant in the Army since he was little, and it took him 15 years to reach it. And within a few months, everything came crashing down,” Monreal said.
“He was hit by a missile and was wounded, an amputee from the left knee down,” Monreal said. “He was moved here to the Center for the Intrepid on Fort Sam Houston, and we moved to be with him while he went for his physical therapy.”
“She helped out a lot at home when my husband was recovering,” Rachel Monreal, Izabella Monreal's mother, said.
With her father on her mind, Izabella Monreal pushed through and excelled in school.
St. Phillips Early College High School teacher Jennifer Mann said Monreal has excelled for many reasons.
“There’s a real sense of responsibility and compassion that I think is remarkable for someone her age. And she (Monreal) is also a gifted artist,” Mann said.
Mann said this school gives students like Monreal a chance to learn in a smaller setting.
“Having 300 or so students really enables us to connect students on a one-on-one level,” Mann said. “Students take college classes pretty early in and work towards an associates degree or certificate.”
Monreal is graduating with an associate degree and with the support from her family.
“She’s a lot like her father. She’s very strong, driven. She was a really kind heart,” Rachel Monreal said.
Izabella Monreal said she met the combat medic who saved her father's life and he inspired her to want to become a doctor.