This story is part of Newsday’s 2020 Extraordinary Seniors series showcasing 12 high school students from across Long Island with the vision and determination to transform their corners of the universe — and perhaps beyond. See more Extraordinary Seniors at newsday.com/extraordinaryseniors.
As a kid in El Salvador, Daniela Ramos Campos told people that when she grew up, she wanted to change the world. So far, Huntington High School’s barrier-breaking senior class president is well on her way.
A mentor to the school’s English-language-learner community, Campos, 19, has juggled her role as student leader with being secretary of the Women’s Empowerment Club and editor-in-chief of the Spanish section of the student newspaper, The Dispatch. Between track and field and softball, she has also contributed as a member of Natural Helpers, Spanish Honor Society and United Amigos, a multicultural support and tutoring club.
Before the pandemic, she was a junior volunteer at Huntington Hospital, where, among other duties, she helped translate for a patient who spoke only Spanish. During it, she’s been distributing food and supplies through Students for 60,000.
“She’s the type of person who, when she sees someone in need, will always go out of her way to help them,” Huntington guidance counselor Diana Bonilla said. “She really wants to open the door for other people, especially those students who aren’t comfortable doing things themselves.”
That’s because just three years ago, Campos immigrated to the United States with her mother — and no grasp of English or the customs of her new country. She soon got involved in sports, worked hard, grew more confident in her classes and made friends. Her homemade pupusas, El Salvador’s national dish, became a favorite at bake sales. Eventually, she was elected the school’s first English-language-learner class president.
“I think I broke down a stereotype,” she said. “This year, I showed my school that it doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are … anyone can do anything they want to do.”
Said her mother, Karina Campos, “When I see each of her [Daniela’s] recognitions and fulfilled goals, I know that the sacrifice of leaving a whole life has been worth it.”
HIGHER ED: Undecided, but intends to major in political science and international studies
FRESHMAN YEAR: “I’m looking forward to learning how to help make the world a better place.”
DURING THE PANDEMIC, I LEARNED: “It will be the duty of my generation to restore the nation and, most importantly, the world.”