Meet the Valedictorian of the Class of 2021!
Brooke High’s Class of 2021 emerged from a challenging year as a group of resilient leaders, ready to make their mark on the world.
Valedictorian Iris Carrillo captured that spirit in her inspiring commencement remarks, “We need to remember that this is our moment. We need to get out there and confront our fears, make mistakes, and most importantly, learn from them.”
We are excited to share more reflections on what has motivated Iris so far, as well as her aspirations for the future in the field of computer science.
Congratulations on becoming valedictorian! What is your next step?
I am going to attend Northeastern University in the fall!
Have you picked a major?
Why did you choose computer science?
Mr. Boyd, my computer science teacher, was a big part of it! I actually failed a test in my first class with him, but he knew I had potential. I kept trying and trying, and he motivated me to look at computer science in a different way. He even gave me read a book to help me think about computer science beyond programming, and this new vision of computer science motivated me.
I even founded the computer science club at Brooke High. This year, we solved algorithm challenges – one person would pick a new problem each week. They would share their different ways of answering the question. If we didn’t know, we would be vulnerable and work together to find an answer. We’ll be able to continue this work together because we’re all going to Northeastern.
What are your career aspirations?
I love coding, so the question for me is to explore that passion and see where I want to go. Maybe that will be solving problems for schools or in medicine, or maybe I’ll become a computer science teacher!
What motivates you?
My motivation is to set an example as a first-generation student, especially for my younger brother.
What will you miss the most about Brooke?
This might sound funny, but I’m going to miss sportsmanship. I was on the soccer team, and two years ago we had our first varsity girls’ soccer team. I liked being in an environment where people were vulnerable to trying something new. The soccer game nights with friends, even the rainy nights – they were the best.
Do you have any advice for other Brooke students?
Get involved in many things! I was so hesitant to join clubs at first. Looking back, I should have done more. Get involved, especially with clubs that help others!
Who would you like to thank?
My mom and dad I thank them because they have always been by my side throughout the high school years. They are there to tell me not to give up. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. I am grateful for all the sacrifices and all of their hard work to get me to where I am.
How will you handle the challenges of college coursework?
I know it’s going to be hard. I think I have enough support, so I’m not that scared. I have people around me that can give me support. I can’t give up. When I strive for something I know I’m going to get it done.
What are you curious about for college?
When I go to college, I don’t know if I will see people like me. If I see other people that are Hispanic or women, I will know that I’m not the only one there with a passion for computer science. There is also a stereotype that computer scientists are introverts and independent. I’m the opposite of that, and I think I can bring that to projects. I want to see if other people are outgoing like me, and what their backgrounds are.
This generation is more open, more brave in coming out to try new things, even if they don’t know everything. I’m excited to be a part of that.