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Pandemic Helps a Dallas ISD Valedictorian Focus on Future Plans

Amber Miranda graduated first in her class from DISD's School for the Talented and Gifted

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The end of the year for the class of 2020 didn't go as graduates had planned, but the future is still on course.

"I feel really lucky, actually, to be living in this time," Amber Miranda said. On Friday, Miranda had an online graduation ceremony for Dallas ISD's School for the Talented and Gifted.

"I'm the valedictorian of my class," Miranda said laughing. "I never dreamed I'd be valedictorian."

Miranda is a National Merit Scholar with a near perfect SAT score of 1590. "Just one math question," Miranda said of the one answer she got wrong.

She also has a near perfect record for college acceptance. Of the 11 schools she applied to, 10 accepted her.

"Well, 10 1/2," Miranda said with a grin. "Because I got wait-listed at the other."

The "other" was Harvard. Miranda turned down offers from Vanderbilt, Rice, Tufts, Princeton and others. In the fall, Miranda will be a freshman at Duke.

"It was so hard to turn down so many amazing opportunities," Miranda said. "I was really seeing where the Lord leads me, and He led me to Duke."

Miranda got a full scholarship from Duke. She wants to be a doctor and said the pandemic has helped focus her future goals toward global health.

"Find your passion," Miranda said. "There's ample time right now, so kids can find what they really love, and I would say pursue that with everything you have."

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