John I. Leonard Top Grad to Explore Passions on Road to Career Choice

May 2017



Q&A What are your hobbies

Q&A What are your hobbies? I play volleyball. I used to play cello and I hope to get back into it. (I also enjoy) photography and hanging out with my friends and watching TV. I love to travel and see the world around me. I love Los Angeles and southern California in general. I’ve visited Arizona which is amazing.

What would you do if you were invisible for a day? I’d probably just jump on a plane and go somewhere. Anywhere really. I love traveling.

Ifyou could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be? J. D. Salinger. We read one of his books for my class and I thought the book was life-changing. It was about the transition between adulthood and childhood and how scary it is.

What is the best advice you ever received? Follow your heart and not your gut, from my best friend Willmar Escalange.

What event in history would you have liked to have witnessed? The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. I love talking about human rights and the equalities that we have not only in the United States but around the world. It was so inspiring to see so many people rise up and claim their rights. And to fight for what is right.

A career in medicine or diplomacy or maybe international relations is what John I. Leonard valedictorian Jorian Rivera is pondering. However, one thing this Lancer knows for sure is he will be attending college on the West Coast.

Rivera said his biggest accomplishment was getting into his “dream” school, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “I’ve been looking at that college for over two years and I was very fortunate enough to be able to visit last summer,” he said. “And when I stepped foot on campus, I fell in love. So the fact that I was able to turn my dream school into reality was just amazing.”

Rivera landed at the top of his class at John I. Leonard High School in Greenacres by earninga3.94GPA,a5.08HPA. He took four Advanced Placement classes and Advanced International Certificate of Education courses as well as dual enrollment courses. “I was really stressed first semester, trying to get the best grades that I (could),” he said. “So it was just really great (after all the hard work) that I became valedictorian.”

Rivera is enrolled in the medical academy at John I. Leonard High School and is a member of Health Occupational Students of America (HOSA), which is for students interested in a career in the medical field.

Rivera is considering a career in medicine as an option but after taking AP government and AICE global perspectives, Rivera is also thinking about a career in diplomacy and/or international relations. “I’m still torn so I’m going to go to college and take both courses in the sciences and international relations and political studies,” he said. “Hopefully I will know by then.”

Rivera is also the captain of John I. Leonard’s undefeated boys varsity volleyball team and president of the National Honor Society. And, he works at a local grocery store as a customer service lead representative.

With extracurricular activities and his academic studies, Rivera is a very busy student but said the thing he finds most challenging is keeping up with his reading so that he can learn more and educate himself better. “I do a lot of reading (but) I can’t just think that what I have read is enough,” he said. “I’ve always challenged myself to try to learn more about the world and everything socially.”

Although his emphasis is on learning, there is ultimately a greater purpose, Rivera said. “Everything I do is for a bigger cause,” he said. “I don’t just want to learn to treat myself better but to treat my community better.”

Rivera said he’s always had “big dreams” but wants to have impact on others.

“I think about social things and about others before I think about myself,” he said. “I think this helps how my mind impacts the community around me.”

Rivera lives in Lake Worth. His parents are Maria Bodina and Josue Rivera and he also has an older brother, Johan Velez, an older sister, Sandra Velez, and a younger sister, Rachel Rivera.



By Kyoto Walker Special to The Palm Beach Post

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