Miami High’s Top Scholars Share Secrets

By Christopher Bellina, Staff Writer

You go home and open up your backpack to look over all the homework you have to complete and wonder how to the best students do all of this. Miami Senior High’s students at the top of the academic pyramid have found ways to stay on top.

Freshmen Jose Castro prefers to finish all his homework at once because he gets it done and can study peacefully.

9th grader Jose Castro would rather do all his homework at once, because all of it is done and he can study with peace of mind.

11th grader Emmanuel Garit would usually do it all at once, but he would recommend others to divide it up because even he has his imperfections.

The top students at Miami High always make time to study. 12th grader Tommy Collins said, “I sacrifice time to do what I must to succeed.’’ He said he will use any short period he can to get his work for class done before basketball practice or on the bus to the game, so when he gets home, the work is almost done.

Mayisha Perez, an 11th grader who also juggles a job in addition to going to school, said, “I make time to study using my lunch time or an hour before clocking into work.”

Every top student has his or her preferences of what helps them study better. Emmanuel Garit said, ‘’Studying as a group is more engaging and much more effective than trying to study on your own.”

Jose Castro said soothing music helps him study and concentrate better.  In fact, according to the article titled “Studying for finals? Let classical music help” posted on the website for, classical music can put children in a heighted emotional state making them more receptive to information.

Music is not the only feature of the environment that Miami High’s best students pay attention to when studying. 12th grader Elizabeth Rivas said she needs her surroundings to be completely quiet.

11th grader David Andrade, who also needs complete silence, makes sure to put his phone on silence. The only thing David should hear is his own voice because of his preferred study method of trying to remember what is on the paper or worksheet to discipline himself to remember.

Some of these students are happy to share their secrets about their academic success. David Andrade said listening in class and focusing more on class and not talking to friends, which creates a distraction, will improve your grades overall.

Tommy Collins is a great student, but does admit one thing. ‘’It’s not something I was given naturally,’’ he said. “I worked my behind off every afternoon and every night to achieve the academic success that I have now.’’

Even though these students are among the very best the school has to offer, they still have challenges when it comes to being successful academically. Tommy Collins is involved in many activities including track and field, basketball, clubs, his own mentoring program, and family, but he accepts that responsibility and knows he must work much harder in school to achieve the grades that good students get.

Senior Elizabeth Rivas’ biggest challenge as student is not being able to turn in work late.

Mayisha Perez is another example of a student with a lot on her plate, which is not limited to keeping her grades up, working after school and taking care of her sisters. She has worked very hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA in her classes; she believes her time management was key.

Elizabeth Rivas said, ‘’not being able to turn in late work’’ is a big challenge because when she is absent, some of her teachers don’t accept late work.

The hardest thing for many students to find when it comes to school is motivation, but that is something the top achievers do not lack. Emmanuel Garit’s motivation mostly comes from his parents, but also the idea of living a healthy and successful life.

For David Andrade, it’s because of his mother who sacrificed everything to bring him and his brother here to the U.S.A from San Jerónimo de Copán, Honduras, for them to be successful and have more opportunity. In his words, ‘’I don’t want to let my mom down.’’