Class of 2020, A Sting with Vision: Daniela Banon


Our validvactorian, Daniela Banon, stands at the peak of Miami High, setting the bar of academic excellence and community involvement.

By Annette Chu, Editor-in-Chief

2020 has been a remarkable senior class, filled with outstanding students who have promising futures ahead. One extraordinary sting tops the ranking: Daniela Banon. With a 4.929 weighted GPA, and an extensive history of extracurricular activities, Daniela stands as the peak of everything that Miami High represents: academic excellence and community involvement.



Over the past 4 years, Daniela has taken, and excelled in, 12 Advanced Placement courses (Chemistry, Spanish Language & Literature, English Language & Literature, Calculus BC, Statistics, Physics, Biology, Macroeconomics, Government, and Computer Science Principles), and scored a 1520 on her SAT exams. In addition to her impressive course load, she currently holds office as National Honor Society’s President, Mu Alpha Theta’s 1st Vice President, Beta’s Treasurer, and FEA’s former Recording Secretary. After tending to her school responsibilities and officer duties, Daniela often supports students in her current and former AP courses, and she helps teachers and advisors with multiple tasks.

As a result of her hard work here at Miami High, Daniela will be attending New York University in the fall. “I’ve always wanted to live in New York City, and NYU offers an amazing study abroad program.” Due to her impressive academic profile, Daniela was awarded a financial aid package from NYU that fully covers tuition, as well as room and board

How did she achieve so much the past four years? Daniela was motivated to do well because she knew she wouldn’t be able to afford college otherwise. Her biggest struggle in her high school career has been balancing school with her personal commitments. She knows the importance of balance, so she advises people who want to be successful academically to complete all their class work on time. “Time management is crucial. With good time management, you can maintain good grades and have time for fun and relaxation,” she said.

Her favorite subject has been AP Spanish Literature because she loves how the course blends many different academic disciplines. “Dr. Inguanzo made the class engaging, and I always wanted to know more about the assigned reading material,” she said. Spanish Literature has helped Daniela discover more about her Hispanic roots through close analysis of the cultural context behind each assignment they received.

With the top GPA in her senior class, Beta’s Treasurer Daniela Banon (third from right), stands with Saritee Bonilla, Katherine Ramirez-Lopez, and Marierling Perez.

Super Sting

  Climbing to the top of the class requires hard work and dedication. Some students have that position in sight since they first enter high school, but not Daniela. “Being the top of my class was not my goal initially. While I’ve always been very concerned with my grades, I really only wanted a good GPA to be competitive for college and scholarships,” she said.

Not only is it difficult to reach number one academically, but staying there is even harder. Many challenges have stood in Daniela’s way; however, she was able to tackle them all while staying at the top. According to Daniela, the biggest challenge was the need to always get top grades, with the understanding that any grade in a class other than an A, would harm her GPA, causing an unexpected drop.

In the past, the top student of the class, or valedictorian, would present the speech at graduation; however, in recent years, that has changed. The student graduation speeches at Miami High are now given by the SGA President, and winner of the Sigma Chi award. Some students disagree with it, but Daniela actually likes the change. “It’s logical that the most involved person in school would give a graduation speech. Being top of your class doesn’t correlate to extracurricular involvement, or the ability to deliver a memorable speech,” she said.


Life Through Daniela

Daniela was born an only child in Spain; her dad is Spanish, and her mother is Cuban. She looks up to her mother because “she has sacrificed many things in her life to ensure I am happy and have access to a brighter future than she did,” she said.

Daniela enjoys learning languages, and is proficient in three: English, Spanish, and Catalan. “I’d like to learn more languages. I enjoy talking to people and learning about their experiences, and I’d love to do so in the native tongue of the person I’m talking to. That way, what they express isn’t lost in translation,” she said. Her ability to learn languages and do well in school might stem from her best skills– the ability to retain information and to learn quickly.

Besides learning languages, Daniela enjoys reading and drawing in her spare time. You can see her tiny doodles from time to time on spare sheets of paper during class. She enjoys watching TV mysteries; her favorite show is Bones, but Criminal Minds and CSI Las Vegas are close seconds. She listens to mystery podcasts, too, adding to her love for mysteries. Besides mystery, she loves Disney films, and has always been amazed by the amincation and “how surprisingly insightful they are.”

Daniela loves to travel, and wants to continue to visit different places throughout her life. So far, she has visited Houston, Texas, been all around Florida, travelled through Cuba, and explored Spain. She plans on traveling throughout Europe with her best friend this summer.

Just like most people, Daniela has many dreams and goals to accomplish in life: “My biggest wishes are to graduate from high school and then university. After that, I will start working and travel as much as possible. I also want to adopt dogs and cats, especially older ones or those with difficulties that can’t find a home.”


Future and Past

   Time can pass by in a blink of an eye, and before you know it, your high school career is coming to an end. However, Daniela already has plans and wishes for the future. She wants to graduate from NYU and travel across the United States, Europe, and Asia.” She also hopes to make her family proud. “I want to make all the sacrifices they made for me to be worthwhile,” she said.

Daniela describes her freshman self as “anxious, reserved, and inhibited.” Now as a senior, she has become more comfortable and confident in her abilities, and is more positive and happy than when she was a freshman. Therefore, if Daniela had the chance to give her freshman self a piece of advice, she would tell her that while school is very important, “she should stress a lot less over grades because they aren’t as significant as I once thought they were.” She now focuses more on the learning than on her grade, stressing that “It’s more important to have a good relationship with [her] friends and family.”