Pasco valedictorian receives national honor - FOX 13 News

Pasco valedictorian receives national honor

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PORT RICHEY (FOX 13) -

To watch Mary Kujak glide through the halls of her high school, you can immediately tell she is completely at ease. Mary has already compiled an amazing list of accomplishments during her time at Ridgewood High School.

Mary has really become a shining star. She is the class valedictorian at Ridgewood High School, the winner of a prestigious Barnes Scholarship, and an all-county athlete in four sports.

"I do volleyball, basketball, I've done track and softball and I did tennis this year," she said.

Among her top awards, Mary was just named a 2013 Horatio Alger Scholar, one of only 107 in the entire country to receive this award. It's given to students who overcome adversity, rising above it.

"I was in my room and I opened up an e-mail and I saw it and I was in disbelief," she said. "I didn't comprehend the magnitude of what it was at the time. I was definitely shocked."

Teri Kujak is Mary's mom.

"Words can't express how proud of her I am. I'm just waiting for the moment to see her walk on that stage and give her speech to get her diploma."

They were both victims of abuse, but never lost focus.

"She persevered. I believe it was though her faith, and through extended family members in the community who helped her stay focused," Teri said.

Mary wants to do for others what her community did for her.

"I just want to be able to say, when I look back when I am old, that I made a difference," Mary said.

Mary will be going to the Baylor University, she plans to major in pre-med, with the goal of being a medical examiner.

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