Keanna Cortez

Keanna Cortez

Morenci High School’s Keanna Cortez is not only the Class of 2020’s valedictorian, she’s also a licensed nursing assistant and an associates degree holder.

The 18-year-old took so many dual enrollment classes, she’ll receive her degree in general studies during Eastern Arizona College’s virtual graduation ceremony May 8.

Cortez was born in the Philippines and moved to the States with her parents, Constantino and Marilou, when she was six. They’ve lived in various places throughout the U.S., but moved to Morenci from Jacksonville, Florida five years ago.

The student council member managed to hold onto the number one spot in her class all four years of high school.

“It was pretty hard and it got harder my junior and senior year,” Cortez said.

Her parents have always been highly supportive of her, she said.

“They never pressured me, but they set standards for me and I knew I needed to meet them, not only for them, but for me as well,” Cortez said.

When she isn’t studying, Cortez said she draws and paints watercolors. She also played on the school’s tennis team.

She’s a fan of The Eagles, the movie Ratatouille and the TV show Parks and Rec.

Next fall she’ll be moving into the dorms at the University of Arizona, where she’ll major in biology and work on campus as part of a federal work study program. Her ultimate dream is to become a doctor, join Doctors Without Borders and one day open her own hospital in the Philippines.

“I really want to study the human body. It’s one of my favorite subjects,” she said.

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