WASHINGTON, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A senior at Washington High School is more than a helpful voice to her classmates. 17-year-old Nayra Lujano is an inspiration to students and her teachers as she's always looking for an opportunity to learn, master and mentor.
In band, Lujano helps three Spanish speaking bandmates speak the universal language of music. She helps them learn their instruments and translates lessons. In addition to being fluent in Spanish and English, Lujano has a good grasp on Chinese and Japanese. She can also speak a little French and picked up sign language to communicate with a deaf classmate.
"Lots of people didn't put in the effort to communicate with him,” she says. “So I taught myself a little bit of sign language to learn that."
Her determination is with her in the auditorium as a theater stage manager, in meetings as a student voice for Leadership Washington, as she helps others embrace all cultures in a multicultural club and while building robots as part of the First Tech Challenge. On the first day of school, she passed out lifesavers to help her fellow students survive the first day.
Lujano says she has a great relationship with her fellow students, which makes her approachable.
"If people have a problem or if they need something, they don't feel uncomfortable coming to ask me and I'm more than willing to help. I love being there for others," she says.
"She's really our best friend, because if we have a kid who's struggling, she's the one who steps in and says hey, I bet I can help you with that math concept.," says English teacher Robin Flattery.
Flattery says Nayra's big picture thinking helps her learn and then teach others complex concepts. With a blend of skills in English, science, math and the arts, she says it's difficult to predict Nayra's path after graduation in May.
"I really don't know what the future looks like for Nayra because she's going to make it and create it from scratch and I'm excited to live in that world," she said.
Nayra's current interest is in aerospace engineering and says she might attend Iowa State University. She says she wants to hold onto her love of music and theater no matter what she decides to do.
“I'm not quite sure where I'll end up in the future but it will be something great I'm pretty sure,” she says. “I don't think I'll settle for anything less."