CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Ray High School student Vanessa Flores has a busy summer scheduled.
Flores, 17, will take an internship with U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, working with his Washington, D.C., office.
“I want to be involved in law and politics and so this is a great opportunity to get experience and get myself out there and see what it’s really like,” Flores said.
She said she met the Congressman when she was 9 years old and they've maintained contact through the years.
Flores will be meeting with Vela in Washington but will also be doing part of her internship virtually. She said she will be his youngest intern and will be working on a range of issues such as immigration.
“You need to build character…you need to build leadership to work in the real world,” Flores said when asked about what motivates her.
She is also captain of the cheerleading squad at Ray High School and said she is hoping that her leadership will help others on the squad be joyful, especially during hard times like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was super hard for everyone to try to stay positive and full of school spirit but I love being able to be the person that someone can look at for inspiration and happiness,” Flores said.
She is also hoping to inspire others off the field. She danced ballet in Austria and said that that was her biggest accomplishment so far.
“I was able to see the world in a different light and how dance could bring everybody together which was really awesome and how I could impact somebody else’s life," Flores said. "And even though I don’t speak the same language as them, but through dance I could share a story."
Her parents said they’re very proud of her, but they can’t take the credit for her accomplishments because she’s self-motivated and has been especially during the pandemic.
“We both have a lot of pride watching her grow up and seeing her from a 3-year-old ballerina to everything that she’s accomplished,”said her father, Joe Flores.
Vanessa Flores has a 4.5 GPA and is hoping to attend college at the University of Texas-Austin where she is hoping to major in political science.
Afterward, she wants to go to law school in hopes of being a lawyer, just like her father, so she can take over his law firm one day.
She said this internship is bringing her one step closer to meeting her goals.
“Most students my age, you know, we just see the television, we just see what goes on." she said. "But to be able to see how everything works will really ensure that this is what I want to do."