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2021 Amazing Kids honoree Lizbeth Bucio-Perez of Cornelius is headed to George Fox and hopes med school follows.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Forest Grove High School's Lizbeth Bucio-Perez plans to attend George Fox this fall and study biochemistry as a means to becoming a doctor.  Lizbeth Bucio-Perez is a typical 18-year-old. She likes music, spending time outdoors and school — to an extent.

But what in many ways separates her from the same people she rubs shoulders with in the hallways at Forest Grove High School is her understanding of who she wants to be and how she plans to get there. And she's not afraid of what it will take to make both happen.

"I used to be really shy," Bucio-Perez said. "But through school and the things I've done and experienced with my church and the Cornelius Youth Advisory Council, I've really matured and it's helped me get better and work towards my goals."

One of those goals is to become a physician. Bucio-Perez plans to attend George Fox University in Newberg next fall, where she plans to study biochemistry. After that, she'll be aiming at medical school with the intent of pursuing a career as a cardiovascular physician or gastroenterologist.

"All of that can change," she said. "But for now, those are the fields I'm interested in."

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Lizbeth Bucio-PerezNot surprisingly, Bucio-Perez is a science enthusiast. She said she loves all science classes, but has an affinity for chemistry and biology. Every year, she takes two to three different science classes and says she never really gets enough when it comes to learning about how things work — scientifically of course.

"Whether it's biology, chemistry or physics, or something else, I always want to learn more," she said. "I just love it."

At the same time, she has little interest in politics. She laughed as she explained her disdain for government and its history, but while acknowledging its importance, she'd just as soon leave the ins and outs to others.

"It's good to know," Bucio-Perez said, "But just not something I'm passionate about. Especially when they get into the nitty-gritty of it."

Which in a way makes her interest in the Cornelius Youth Advisory Council a curious one. The CYAC is a group consisting of roughly 20 students from local schools in or near Cornelius. Members must be Cornelius residents and are typically high school students appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council for two-year terms.

The mission of the CYAC is to represent the common good of the Cornelius community through a positive attitude, desire to serve, promoting diversity, forming community partnerships, and serving as a voice between the youth, residents and businesses in Cornelius. The CYAC's purpose is to provide youth in Cornelius an opportunity to become involved in city government, advise the Cornelius City Council and other leaders in the community, and represent issues of importance to youth in Cornelius.

Bucio-Perez said she was initially exposed to the group when a teacher at Neil Armstrong Middle School — John Colgan — referred her to it. At first, she was dubious of what it might entail, but in hindsight, she said it's been a light in what she feared was a dark tunnel.

"I was admittedly curious," she said. "So I applied and I never would've guessed it would have such a big impact on my life."

Bucio-Perez said the group really forced her out of her shell and helped her develop leadership skills. She added that she's enjoyed seeing how the process works, helping to develop the city, and acquiring competences she'll need going forward.

"The experience has really prepared me for college," she said. "I've matured so much and my mentality has definitely changed. It's been such a great honor to be a part of the group."

She added that, in addition to school, her time with the CYAC, and of course her parents as influences on who she is today, she also attributed much to her church youth director and deacon, Eli Martinez, who mentored her throughout her high school years.

"I think he deserves a lot of credit for who I am today."

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in our 2021 Amazing Kids special publication, inserted into newspapers the week of May 24, 2021. Find a digital version of the full publication on our website. This profile of Lizbeth Bucio-Perez is sponsored by the city of Cornelius.

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