Local graduate overcomes obstacles

By Julianne Peixoto

June 27, 2014 Updated Jun 27, 2014 at 11:43 PM EDT

Windsor, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A Windsor Central High School graduate faced several challenges before receiving her diploma through her recent immigration to the United States.

Sofia Panziera had a long journey to get to Friday night's graduation ceremony.

"I never imagined I was gonna come here," Sofia said. “I didn’t think I was gonna move from my country ever.”

She and her family immigrated from Argentina just two years ago when she was in the 10th grade.

She started out in the Tioga Central School District, but one year later she moved again to Montrose, Pa.

After spending a few months in Pennsylvania, her family moved and settled down in Windsor.

“I actually feel this is my school, of all the schools I have been in," said Sofia. "I really feel this is my school, I really enjoy being here.”

Sofia thrived, bringing some of her warm, welcoming culture with her to school every day.

"I would try to get from one class to the other and at least four people would hug me on the way there," said Sofia.

"She will come in talking and smiling," said Sofia's mother Leila. "She'll say 'good morning' and everyone will hear her 'good morning' because she is loud, and she is like that all the time."

Sofia got involved with all that Windsor Central had to offer. She learned to play drums, speak foreign languages and even joined a mentoring program to help incoming freshmen.

"Sofia has had just an incredible impact on our student body," said Windsor Central High School Superintendent Jason Andrews. "She just brings such enthusiasm and a real thirst for learning and really fit into our entire student body and school community so well."

Sofia will continue her education at Elmira College in the fall on scholarship, and even though she's graduating, Windsor High won't be the last high school hallways she sees.

"The good thing is numbers are the same everywhere."

She'll be double majoring in mathematics and education, in hopes of one day teaching at a high school in Alaska.

"I'm just so proud of her, that's I'm not tired to say it, I'm just so proud of her," said Leila.

Sofia graduated Friday night with a regents diploma with advanced designation, National Honor Society membership and highest honors.