The 18-year-old Brookhaven resident has an impressive academic resume that includes membership in the National Governor’s Honors Program, National Honors Society, National Hispanic Honors Society and National Science Honors Society, but Luna-Sousa said she enjoys learning and keeping active.
In particular, Luna-Sousa said she has a passion for science.
“When I was a freshman, I participated in classes at the Fernbank Science Center and the scientific tools and technique program gave me a quick overview of classes like astronomy, biology and botany and I really enjoyed that program,” she said. “Being able to be immersed in those courses gave me an interest in pursuing a degree in science.”
In fact, Luna-Sousa will pursue a degree in neurobiology at Cornell University in New York in the fall.
“My ultimate goal is to be a neurosurgeon,” she said.
AP English language and composition teacher Christopher Smith said Luna-Sousa’s work ethic and drive to succeed are attributes that he believes helped her achieve valedictorian status.
“[Luna-Sousa] possesses a work ethic that cannot be taught and her internal drive and consistent willingness to do all the little things is impressive,” he said. “She lets her actions speak for her, she is a good person and I anticipate she will do fabulous things in the years to come.”
Aside from achieving in the classroom, Luna-Sousa has also pursued playing the clarinet for the school band and her church, volunteering at the Sunrise Senior Center in Buckhead and running on the school’s varsity cross country team during her sophomore year.
She said she first tried the sport because she wanted to step out of her comfort zone and try something new.
“Being in cross country was very intense but very rewarding,” Luna-Sousa said.
“Meeting new people and learning a different skill helped me because learning endurance is important in anything you do, you have to keep going and pushing forward to achieve in life.”
For other students working hard to achieve, Luna-Sousa has some advice.
“Know your priorities, know what you want and know that you’re never too young to have big dreams and big goals,” she said.