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BRIGHT FUTURES — Rachel Garin making most of opportunities family worked hard to provide

PORT NECHES — Rachel Garin is proud of her heritage.

The Port Neches-Groves High School senior is Honduran and the child of two immigrant parents. She grew up listening to her mom, Sharin Mayorga, tell stories of survival and strength after fleeing an oppressive rule at the age of 20.

“I come from a very humble family,” Garin said. “Humility is all that we have. I am constantly amazed by how strong my mom is. She is a hard-working woman. I look up to her a lot, and being a product of immigrants has always made me want to strive to be better.”

Today, Garin uses every privilege passed down to her to excel.

“This school has brought me a lot of opportunities,” she said. “It’s something that has helped me open myself up and do activities in and out of school that I might not have tried to do otherwise.”

Garin is a photographer and social media editor for the NDN Press, an employee at Neches Federal Credit Union on campus and a member of the Indians Give committee.

Garin started as social media editor as a junior under the guidance of teacher Mike Tobias.

“I love being able to show off what we do here at school to others in the community,” she said. “I love being able to capture those special moments.”

Tobias said choosing Garin as the first social media editor for NDN Press was an easy decision.

“All before school and during school, since this program started, her and I have come so far,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect with a social media editor, but she has pleased me as the first one. She is doing a great job. It’s been an interesting first year and I am glad she was here for it.”

PNG senior Rachel Garin is a photographer and social media editor for the NDN Press.

Indians Give is a daylong event for giving back, where Garin played worked as a photographer capturing those special moments.

“Indians Give has been a great event for the past three years,” she said. “It’s such a good experience for everyone here at the school, because it helps us open our eyes to see a community that needs help and be an impact for people.”

Before graduating, Garin said her short-term goals include maintaining good grades, setting standards at the NDN Press and continuing to try new things.

Garin said she wants to leave all future students with one message — get involved.

“If I wouldn’t have gotten involved so much on campus, I would have stayed in my own shell and never gotten out of it,” she said. “Now, I’ve made so many friendships that have changed my life. I have amazing teachers and amazing principals. Everyone here has changed my life.”

In the fall, Garin will attend Blinn College in Bryan for a year before transferring to Texas A&M to pursue a degree in biology. She hopes to become a pediatric surgeon.

“I strive for something big,” she said. “I want to help these kids feel better. I also like learning, and being a surgeon takes so much learning. I also like kids so this seemed like the right route for me.”

Garin said her definitive goal in life is to make her parents proud.

“My main goal is my family,” she said. “I want to help them, I want to make them proud and make sure their sacrifices weren’t for nothing. Everything I do is for them.”