BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A high school senior in Luzerne County is graduating Friday night with high honors, and she has already received a big honor from her home country, the Dominican Republic.
Alice Banks graduates from Hazleton Area Academy of Science Friday night. We sat down with her inside the school near Drums.
She says the past few years have felt like a whirlwind. Several years ago, she came from the Dominican Republic speaking very little English.
"I could barely say the basic stuff, you know, 'hello, how are you.' But now all these things are happening it is such a great moment," Banks said.
Now speaking Spanish, English, and French, Banks is being honored for her academic achievements by educators and her home country.
"It has been a really exciting moment because my dreams are coming true."
she received the Meritorious Award for Academic Excellence from the Dominican Republic and was also selected to speak at the Dominican Republic consulate in New York City earlier this month addressing 500 students.
"I said to them to believe in themselves because that is what is going to open and close doors for them. That is what is going to give them identity and I believe that is going to shape their present and professional future," she said.
Raffael Billet says she met Banks three years ago and knew she was special.
"We have spent a lot of time together. When it is lunchtime and we will go over papers and she is a very sweet girl and deserves this honor," said Billet.
On a full scholarship, Alice Banks plans to attend the University of Scranton and study finance.