Cora joined Oakcrest in tenth grade; she and her parents were drawn to the school’s strong Catholic identity, its tight-knit community, and the way it challenged students to stretch themselves as scholars and leaders. Although starting at a new high school sophomore year might sound intimidating, Cora found her new environment both welcoming and exciting. “The best thing about Oakcrest,” she explains, “Is that everyone can find their niche, whether that means a friend group, a sports team, or even a club they start themselves. There is something for everyone at Oakcrest, and I took advantage of this when I started school here.”
Cora certainly found her niche in all aspects of the school, from academics to extracurriculars. She enjoyed the challenging classes, and notes that the most memorable one she ever took was AP Biology. It wasn’t an easy course, but she appreciated the chance to step out of her comfort zone. “At the beginning of the year, I did not know how to write a proper lab report, but at the end of the year, I was able to write one at the college level,” she says. “I am proud of what I accomplished in this class.”
She is the founder of Operation Sacrifice, a project that’s part of Oakcrest’s new Service Initiatives Program. Operation Sacrifice members have sold baked goods to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, collected 100 pounds of candy for soldiers overseas, hung posters around the school to honor women in the military, and much more. Cora also credits Oakcrest with giving her the opportunity to become a well-rounded athlete. In her first year at the school, she joined the JV Soccer Team, serving as team captain, and also participated in Track & Field in the spring. As a junior, she once again led the JV Soccer team, joined the Varsity swim team, and ran for Varsity track. In her final year at Oakcrest, she ran for Varsity Cross Country and swam.
Now, she’s headed to the United States Military Academy. Cora says, “I am going to West Point because I want to serve my country by defending it as a soldier in the United States Army. I believe West Point will best prepare me to lead our nation because it provides a challenging environment, which will build my intellectual, physical, and leadership capabilities.” She ultimately hopes to become a physical therapist in the Army and earn her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Cora feels Oakcrest has prepared her well for the challenges to come. “Oakcrest has set high academic standards for me and has shown me that I can accomplish higher goals than I thought possible, which will prepare me well for life at West Point,” she says.