Thomas Edison said, “There’s no substitute for hard work.”Tatianaide Medina, 16, – smart, beautiful and driven – knows about hard work.“When I came to the United States from Colombia, South America, at age 9, I couldn’t speak any English,” Medina said. “I was discouraged.”Her school, McAlpine Elementary, was very welcoming, and encouraged the fourth-grader to read books, starting with picture books. She worked hard at learning a new language and excelled.Now a junior at South Mecklenburg High School, Medina is a straight-A student, ranked eighth in a class of 538. She takes six AP classes, two Honors classes and a class at Central Piedmont Community College.She said she likes South Meck because of the school’s rich diversity.The bilingual student is learning her third language in French III. She also is the vice president of Health Occupations Students of America, part of the Teen Service Corps for Ronald McDonald House, a volunteer at the Humane Society of York County and a volunteer with her mother, serving food to the poor with the Missionaries of the Poor in Monroe.Medina is on the National Honor Society and tutors English as a Second Language students. She works part-time at Jason’s Deli, plays the piano and dances with the Carolinas Latin Dance Company.There seemingly are not enough hours in the day for all that she does and wants to do.“I want to go to Harvard and study either political science or international relations and eventually work at the U.N,” Medina said.When asked what is the single most important activity that contributes to her success, Medina answered quickly: “Reading. I read all the time. It was through constant reading that I was able to learn to speak English in just a few months, when I was 9.”Medina is so convinced of the power of reading that she founded Opening Roads, an international program that distributes books to poor children.“I feel that if children ages 3 to 12 who are living in poverty can learn a second language, they will have more opportunities to succeed,” Medina said.To that end, she set the goal of collecting 100 books to take to Colombia when she and her parents went this past Christmas. One hundred soon became 500, and the family ended up taking 503 books, which they gave to Centro Educativo Fe y Alegria Palermo Sur, a school in a impoverished area.“The children were so excited and dove into the books,” Medina said.She is working on getting the program nonprofit status; she wants to increase the number of books delivered and expand the areas to which they would go.Anyone interested in donating books or finding out more about the program can visit www.openingroads.com. Medina lives with her mother, Aydee, and her stepfather, Mike Apple, in Pineville. Her father, Jaime Medina, is a writer who lives in Colombia.“I am so lucky to have three loving and hardworking parents to help guide me,” Medina said.
Friday, Feb. 01, 2013
South Meck teen takes books to kids in South America
South Meck teen takes books to Colombia
Tatianaide Medina collected more than 500 books and took them to impoverished children in Colombia, South America, during the Christmas holidays. KAREN SCIOSCIA
Karen Scioscia is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Karen? Email her at email@example.com.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less