Brenda Aguilar, a standout fourth-grade student from Libby Elementary School (Oceanside Unified School District), was selected as this year’s California winner of the Passport to Space Program. The program sends one student from a Title I school in each state to Space Camp. Brenda is excited to be taking off on her first plane ride in May for the U.S. Rocket & Space Center in Alabama to discover space while representing Oceanside and all of California.
At 10 years old, Brenda says she loves learning in all subjects, especially math, and that she loves to be challenged. She is honored and excited for the opportunity to attend Space Camp.
“I think learning new things is important because you can’t just stay on one topic...You have to learn a lot more about life in general,” Brenda said.
The nomination was sent in by Libby Elementary Librarian Michelle Tapia. She said what stands out in Brenda is her academic excellence, ability to “go above and beyond,” and ultimately her humility. Tapia said she has known Brenda since she started at Libby in preschool. Brenda is also what’s known as a “smart cookie” in the library — a student who helps out by shelving books, cleaning up and more. “Brenda comes from humble origins, but she’s also very brilliant, and when you see someone like that, you recognize not only her academic skills and leadership qualities, but also the personality that goes with it,” Tapia said.
Brenda’s mom, Norma Horlanda Lopez Vasquez, said she hopes her daughter’s story will inspire other students.
“She is very motivated. She has a plan, and one of the main goals is to be here every day at school,” she said of Brenda, who had perfect attendance last year, and this year had to be picked up just once during the school day because she had a fever.
Tapia said a quote that applies well to Brenda is “girls with dreams become women of vision.” “I want her to know that there’s so much more than just Oceanside,” Tapia said, “and that she has a whole universe to explore.”