Luis Lopez Cardona is described by his teachers as “the American dream.”
The Freeport High School senior, who came to the United States five years ago from Guatemala, is graduating as the fourth-ranked student in his class with a weighted GPA of 99.9. He is also an AP Scholar with Honor, scored a perfect 5 on his AP Physics B Exam, and scored a 100 on his chemistry Regents.
Cardona lived with his grandparents and younger brother, who suffers from cerebral palsy, in Guatemala until 2011, then came to Long Island to join his mother, who had been working here to send money back to her family since 2003. Upon his arrival, he was placed in English as a Second Language classes and became proficient in the language within a year.
“From a very young age, my grandmother emphasized studying,” said Cardona, 18. Of adjusting to the United States, he said: “It wasn’t very hard, because the teachers were very friendly — and I also had a willingness.”
The teen’s other achievements include attending summer science programs at Adelphi University and New York Institute of Technology. He will study computer science this fall at the University of Buffalo.
He also is part of his school’s swimming team, National Honor Society, student government, Key Club and Book Club.
“He is so hard working and kind,” Freeport Principal Linda Carter said. “He is the perfect student.”