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Heidy Carolina Bruner, a senior at Riverwood International Charter School, has embarked on a remarkable journey, navigating the complexities of multiple cultures with unwavering resilience and determination. Born in Nicaragua and transplanted to Costa Rica at the age of 11, Heidy swiftly adapted to a new cultural environment before embarking on another significant transition to the United States, where she began a new life with her adoptive family.

Heidy’s story is unique and moving. After facing a challenging childhood in Costa Rica, including the need to work from the age of six and living in a small girls’ home, she was adopted by a family in the United States. Initially, the adaptation was challenging, especially since she didn’t speak English and had to integrate into a completely new and diverse environment. Over time, thanks to her persistence and her adoptive family’s support, Heidy mastered English and thrived academically and socially.

At Riverwood International Charter School, Heidy has left an indelible mark as an inaugural member of the JROTC program, where she has showcased exceptional leadership skills. Her dedication and commitment to her education and community have been recognized with several awards, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award and the Riverwood PTSA scholarship.

Heidy’s work extends beyond school. She has worked in various roles in local restaurants and is an artist at ThrillartsTattoos, creating custom tattoo designs. These work experiences have strengthened her customer service skills and her ability to work as part of a team.

Heidy has also found ways to integrate and celebrate her cultural heritage. She actively participates in Costa Rican community events in Atlanta and maintains strong ties with her family and friends in Costa Rica. This cultural duality has enriched her perspective on education and diversity, teaching her the importance of embracing and learning from different cultures.

Her teachers and counselors highlight her determination and ability to overcome significant challenges. Lorraine Benitez, her Spanish for Native Speakers teacher, describes her as an attentive and thoughtful student who always offers deep perspectives in class discussions. Erin Simone Kennedy, her therapist, praises her ability to maintain her identity while navigating the complexities of being adopted in a different country.

Heidy is eagerly anticipating the next chapter of her life. She has been accepted into the University of North Georgia, broadening her horizons for furthering her higher education with the support of the Reaching a Dream Scholarship. Her ambition is to pursue higher education and continue to be a bridge between cultures, illustrating that diversity and inclusion are essential to personal and community growth.

Heidy Carolina Bruner’s story is a testament to strength and perseverance. With roots deeply grounded in her cultural heritage and a clear vision for the future, Heidy is prepared to contribute significantly to society and continue inspiring others with her example.