"Hi, my name is Tatiana Suriano and I'm a student at Richmond High School. I live in Richmond, California and I plan on attending UC Santa Barbara in fall, possibly going into psychology," Suriano says.
This very social student leader has a major interest in family dynamics and how it affects a student's successes or failures. "They can't stay focused in school because of their problems at home, or is it because they just feel like they don't belong, they feel like they're not motivated enough, and I would like to figure out why that is, and find a way to help them," Suriano says.
Student crime, behavioral problems, and lack of funding have plagued Richmond High School for many years. Tatiana says she chose long ago to rise above the negativity surrounding her school and her community to focus on her future. She hopes one day her successes and those of her peers will reinforce the good in Richmond.
"Richmond High School obviously has a lot of negative comments about it because of all the incidents that happen in the community we live in. Just because you're from Richmond doesn't mean you can't go to college, doesn't mean you can't become a doctor because it's possible. You just need to believe in yourself," she says.
"She wants to be someone who comes back and helps with the community and provides a kind of guidance," a teacher says.
Tatiana spends much of her time now giving to others through community service. "Everyone needs a hand and everyone needs someone there to know that they care and they can help them," she says. She also spends a lot of time being a voice for her fellow students among Richmond High School's faculty and administrators. "I would like to make decisions that go on and give my input on the community and things that can be changed," she says.
Varsity volleyball, softball, student government and now prom queen… How does Tatiana do it all? "I don't know," she says laughingly. "I think it's all about time management, even though I can honestly say I am a procrastinator. Sometimes I feel like under pressure, I work the best," she says.
"I was home alone and nobody else was there with me to do the usual things that most teenagers do with their families," Suriano recalls. It's that alone time that prompted her to reach out to her teachers and the administration to join various activities on campus. That's how she got involved with others. She says it made her an independent, responsible, and resourceful student. "I've been motivated and I felt like I want to become successful in the future and I think that's definitely something that everyone deserves and should have," she says.
Congratulations to Tatiana Suriano For her amazing accomplishments.
Join ABC7 on Sunday, June 17, at 10 a.m. for a half-hour special on all seven of our top scholars this year.