HTC honors Horry County students overcoming life challenges

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – HTC is honoring students in Horry County that have faced adversity and overcome obstacles in life. It’s called the REEL Kids award, and it stands for Recognizing Extraordinary Examples of Leadership. The award is given out to one student from each school in Horry County, and students are nominated by their teachers and guidance counselors.

HTC says this is a way to strengthen their relationship with the community. Senior Marketing Coordinator, Nicole Hyman, said students always get recognized for their academic achievements, but sometimes there is more to a student than their classroom success.

“It’s good that we’re able to recognize these students who are sometimes overlooked,” said Hyman. “They’re not always the ones walking across the stage to receive an award, but this REEL Kids award is all about recognizing students who’ve overcome obstacles and still done well. They persevered through a lot of tough stuff.”

Cinthia Zavala-Ramos is one of the recipients and she says her battle with immigration has pushed her to use school as a release and has helped keep her focused. Her family escaped Honduras to come to America when she was younger. After crossing the border, she still had many struggles at home, being undocumented, so she used school as her escape. She said she was completely shocked that she was being recognized for overcoming these obstacles, but she is also proud.

“One of my biggest things in life was to give pride to my parents because they were the first ones to sacrifice everything to come here,” said Zavala-Ramos. “For them to know that their hard work and my hard work has paid off, and is being recognized from people around us, is amazing too.”

Zavala-Ramos also mentioned that none of her family graduated high school. She graduates this month from the Scholars Academy at Coastal Carolina and Socastee High School. She was accepted to Harvard, Duke, and Notre Dame, but she turned those down to attend Yale University in the fall.