• 75°

Bernal conquers challenges, strives for excellence

Casey Bernal likes a challenge.

“My favorite class has been my hardest class, anatomy,” Bernal, a senior and the top student at Bob Hope High School, said. “There was a lot to memorize.

Bernal actually took the course in her junior year and has been racking up the credits and working towards academic excellence for years.

“In ninth grade I was ranked number 11. That’s when I started taking dual credit classes that count towards high school and college,” she said.

Early on the online dual credit courses were offered through the University of Texas Permian Basin and are now offered through Lamar State College Port Arthur.

She has earned between 36 and 40 college credit hours already in addition to being in the valedictorian’s spot at the high school.

Bernal enjoys reading and considers it somewhat of a hobby.

“I like to read a lot,” she said. “One year I was honored for heaving read the most books. I like sci-fi.”

Her favorite author is Susan Pfeffer who wrote Life As We Knew It, among other titles. She also likes to delve into books that are not main stream or what is the most popular at the time.

“What I like about this school is that it’s free. We don’t have to pay tuition or buy books,” she said. “When I started out at this school I set out to do most of the basics early on so I can explore in my senior year. This year I started cosmetology to see what it’s like. It’s interesting but not for me.”

Robbi Ndebi, head of the science department and science/chemistry teacher, said she has been Bernal’s science teacher at Bob Hope School since 2014.

“Based on Casey’s grades, attendance and class participation I’d rate her academic performance in my class as superior,” Ndebi said. “Casey always has a positive attitude and enthusiastically takes on new ventures and difficult topics. She is well organized and self-assured and calmly handles the stress associated with multiple projects and deadlines. She will no doubt become successful in any career path she chooses to pursue.”

Bernal has been accepted to the University of Houston honors program and is looking to major in either biotechnology or biochemistry. Her goal is to become a doctor and either go into the neuroscience field or become a pediatrician.

Math had been a favorite class and from either to 11 grades she competed in math competitions thinking she would be working towards a career in engineering. Then science took her interest moving her towards the medical field, she said.

Casey Bernal is the daughter of Sergio and Detsadel Bernal.