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East County Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2011 6 years ago

Kudos: Leonardo Leal-Geurrero


Leonardo Leal-Geurrero epitomizes the overcoming spirit. Moving to Manatee from Mexico with a dysfunctional family — including an abusive stepfather — Leonardo bounced between families and being homeless. When he started school in 2005 in seventh grade, he knew no English. But he studied it constantly and mastered it in a year while getting A’s.

He held steadfastly to the belief that education could pull him out of the cycle of poverty that dogged his family. So while at Braden River High School, he also was enrolled at State College of Florida, where he is nearly finished with an associate’s degree.

Now he has full scholarship offers to Harvard and Stanford. “If you fight for your dreams, they can come true if you have enough motivation and perseverance,” he told the East County Observer. A great lesson.

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