Perseverance pays off for Harlingen’s top grads

HARLINGEN — She wouldn’t sleep until she got it right, and her die-hard dedication has paid off.

“I am proud of myself because I worked so hard,” said Brandi Nicole Cantu, 18, this year’s salutatorian at Harlingen High School.

She’s coming in a close second behind Nathan Ramon, the school’s valedictorian for the graduating class of 2018.

“I have had a goal to be in the top 10,” said Nathan, 18. “Being valedictorian is really something. I wanted to be better and be all I can be.”

Brandi spoke in depth recently about her work ethic.

“My goal was always to make 100 on everything,” she said. “I would check my work to make sure the answers were correct. I studied until I got the lessons. I would teach myself in the mirror. I couldn’t go to sleep until I knew I had the lessons, until I finished my homework.”

How much did Nathan study?

“Not as much as people think,” he said. “I paid attention in class. I’ve got a good memory and I stayed focused at all times. That really helped.”

That’s not to say he didn’t have some late nights.

“Some nights I stayed up until 2,” he said.

He pointed out the importance of perseverance.

“You have to maintain the grades,” he said. “It’s easy to get good grades but the really difficult thing is to keep getting good grades every day on every assignment.”

Brandi expressed her gratitude to many people who helped her along the way.

“I had a lot of family who supported me and gave me motivation,” she said.

Brandi will take her top grades and her work ethic with her to Baylor University where she will study biochemistry. She’s grateful for her own perseverance.

“I never gave up,” she said. “I just kept on going.”

Nathan is still trying to decide whether to attend Rice University or St. Edwards to study political science.

“I’d like to go into politics,” he said. “I’d like to work my way up to eventually running for president.”

He has a plan for getting there.

“I’d like to be a lobbyist for a company or politician,” he said. “Immigration is a big one, especially coming from here.”