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For Peer Leader Denise Cabrera, success is more than just a destination


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As graduation season comes to a close, we at PeerForward want to take a moment to celebrate Wai‘anae High School Peer Leader Denise Cabrera. 

Denise Cabrera photographed by Khon2 News.

Denise embodies what it means to be a Forward Thinker. Last month, she graduated from Wai‘anae High School as valedictorian, but that’s not all! Thanks to Wai‘anae High School’s involvement in the Hawai‘i Department of Education’s Early College Program, she graduated with her associate degree as well.

This fall, Denise is headed off to Yale University where she will major in computer science. She will be the first student from Wai‘anae High School in nearly a decade to attend an ivy league institution. Her story caught the attention of Khon2 News, a prominent news station in Hawai‘i, who did a feature on her. In this segment, Wai‘anae High School Vice President Michael Kurose spoke highly of the positive influence Denise has on her peers. He referred to her as a “lynchpin” that makes her fellow classmates move forward, further highlighting the power of positive peer influence that we at PeerForward work so hard to encourage.

In the same news segment, Denise shared some words of wisdom which shed light onto the thought mindset behind her success: “Growth doesn’t come without challenges and having those challenges made me into a better person, so I always look for a challenge.”

Read Khon2’s full feature on Denise here

Congratulations, Denise, on your graduation. We can’t wait to see how you’ll grow and flourish at Yale. Keep being the spark that ignites change in your community!