The Senior Spotlight series features interviews with Sibley seniors who have shown commitment to academic excellence and personal achievement. The series will highlight two seniors each week until graduation.
Daughter of Dora De La Torre and Mario Jimenez of West St. Paul.
When an opportunity to learn or try something new comes along, Liliana Jimenez takes it. Her natural curiosity was already evident when she was just three years old watching her mom and aunt perform in a local Mexican folk dancing group, Grupo de Danza Folklorica Mexico Lindo. As soon as she was able to join, she started studying the dance techniques and immersing herself in the traditions, costumes and music.
Her inquisitive attitude has extended through her school years and led her to challenge herself in rigorous high school Advanced Placement (AP) courses including Biology, Calculus AB and U.S. History. When she had the chance to take college-level courses through the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program as a senior, she signed up. This year she has taken Literature, Economics, Medical Terminology, Biology and Psychology at St. Paul College.
“I want to be a pediatrician,” said Liliana. “That will take many years, so for me, getting credits through PSEO and not having to pay for them is important. I also wanted to get some of my generals out of the way.”
Liliana has also earned college credit at no cost through the University of Minnesota by taking College in the Schools (CIS) French 5 at Henry Sibley this year. The credits aside, Liliana sees the language classes as a way to explore the world and she looks forward to travelling the globe some day. Not only does she speak French, she is also fluent in Spanish and she began teaching herself Korean last year.
“I really like languages and learning about different cultures,” said Liliana.
Liliana has been active in co-curricular activities at Henry Sibley, such as LINK Crew. She has been part of the Summer Marching Band program as a member of the Colorguard and was also a part of Winterguard, serving as a Captain in both groups this year. As a member of the Tech Crew, Liliana was part of several high school theater productions and was a member of the Drama Board during 11th grade.
This fall, Liliana will be attending the University of Minnesota-Rochester to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences before attending medical school. While at the U of M she hopes to use the school’s connections to build strong relationships with the doctors and staff of the Mayo Clinic, which is right across the street from the Rochester campus.
She also plans to continue dancing with Grupo de Danza Folklorica Mexico Lindo and is currently transitioning from the teen level to the adult performance group.
Previously, Liliana attended Moreland Elementary and Heritage Middle School.
District 197: How has Sibley prepared you to succeed after graduation?
Liliana: I have learned how to manage my time and learned that being organized, whatever that might mean to you, is very important. Something I learned while at Sibley is to take the opportunities you are given. Because I was able to take advanced courses, although they were harder and more time consuming, I am able to test out of some courses in college and save money.
Who is your favorite teacher or what is your favorite subject?
My favorite teacher and favorite subject go hand in hand. French has been, by far, my favorite class and the way Mr. Laux teaches lets you understand the language. Growing up being surrounded by two languages, my first language being Spanish, really solidified my love for cultures and languages. One thing I've always wanted to do is visit as many countries as possible. Listening to Mr. Laux's stories about the places he's been really left an impression on me and made me more determined to travel.
What’s a memory from your time at Sibley that will always stay with you?
A memory I think I will always have from Sibley is the time I spent in Independent Study French. There were very few of us in the class and everyday was fun and everyone was comfortable with each other. We were still learning and completing requirements, but because there were so few of us, we always finished quickly which left us with extra time.
What advice do you have for younger students about high school?
Be ready to learn how to manage your time, especially if you're interested in being involved in multiple activities. Try your hardest not to procrastinate and avoid being up at odd hours of the night finishing assignments. If you're ever confused about something or don't understand a specific subject, talk to your teacher. It might seem a little awkward at first, but believe me they're there to help.
Read about other achievements by students in the class of 2017:
- Dan O’Reilly and Alex Nilles named National Merit Finalists
- National Merit Semi-finalists and Commended - Dan O’Reilly, Alex Nilles, Sam Altshuler, Nicholas Crary, Joseph Dill, Victoria Garner, Willa Gegelman, Maya Levine, Greta Prokosch, Oren Rosenberg, and Jake Wendt.
- Greta Prokosch named Henry Sibley's 2017 Athena Award winner
- Ninety Sibley Students Earn AP Scholar Awards