The Ambitious One


Photo used with permission from Eliana Diaz-Aceituno

Aceituno on one of her nature walks during quarantine.

After moving to Harrisonburg from Honduras, Senior Eliana Diaz Aceituno has never been able to go back and visit her home country. As the oldest in a family of six, Aceituno has three younger siblings.

I am the oldest of three siblings. My family is from Honduras, a five star country, literally, I hope to be able to visit one day. I’ve never had the chance to go,” Aceituno said.

Going into her eighteenth birthday, Aceituno reflects on her life leading up to this point.

I am 17 going on 18 this April which should be interesting. It’s bittersweet to finally hit this stage of life which I didn’t expect to come so fast. I feel like I was in kindergarten yesterday,” Aceituno said.

While taking a sociology class through the Blue Ridge Scholars program, she got to learn a lot more about different cultures and other perspectives. Aceituno recommends this class because it is not what you can learn in a normal high school class. 

My most favorite class that I took this past year was sociology. I got to learn more about different cultures and became more savvy on certain topics that I would not have had the chance to learn about in a normal high school class. It is a class that I would recommend to other people because it just broadened my perspective,” Aceituno said.

Instead of living up to others expectations, Aceituno quickly began to settle for her own and started to work on the things that she was passionate about.

 I just started to do things for myself. At the beginning of high school I thought, Oh I have to live up to my mother’s expectations of what she wants for me, and slowly I started to realize that there are so many things that I could have a passion for that may not live up to her expectations, but will make me happy. I advocated for myself and made high school manageable and enjoyable and got to explore things that I wanted to and meet really amazing people,” Aceituno said.

During her free time, Aceituno spends her free time cooking and trying new dishes to recreate and learn. Cooking is the thing that she is the most passionate about.

I spend most of my free time cooking and seeing how I can recreate dishes. I just really like to cook. It’s fun to do it and to feed other people,” Aceituno said.

As a way to get some exercise, Aceituno likes to go on walks.

“Hiking and taking nature walks has just been a way for me to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. I love to be outside,” Aceituno said.

Some of Aceituno’s goals for the future are to build a career in science and to be a great mother in the future. 

As of right now I want a career in the sciences, maybe I’ll change my mind maybe I won’t. Only time will tell. I really like science though and I plan to major in Biochem in college. Hopefully I like it, if not then I will explore what college has to offer and go from there. I want to get back into playing instruments, I used to play violin and saxophone and then I stopped, it would be nice to go back and do that. Even though I don’t plan on it anytime soon, I hope to be a great mom one day [because] I’ve always envisioned myself having at least four kids,” Aceituno said.

Aceituno wants other students in high school to experience and take classes that they wouldn’t normally take, and step out of their comfort zones.

Take classes that you wouldn’t imagine yourself taking. Put yourself out there! I can’t emphasize that enough. Freshman year I feel like I was uninvolved and I could’ve done more. There is so much that I could’ve done that I didn’t do but it’s all a matter of learning what to do and what not to do as you go,” Aceituno said.