As an eighth-grader at Hunking Middle School, Heidi Sosa had no doubt that she wanted to attend Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. She saw it as a way to get a head start on a medical career.

As a freshman, she is already making her mark, having just been named February Student of the Month.

The daughter of Peter and Omayra Thistlewood of Haverhill, Heidi plans to be a doctor — maybe a surgeon — and wants to get started right away as a Health Occupations major. She participates in Whittier's Freshmen Exploratory Program, and will choose her major at the end of the third quarter.

"I want to help children with cancer," she said. Her sister Suleimi died three years ago at age 12 from a rare form of cancer. "I want to help others like her," she said.

Guidance counselor Kelly Hamilton nominated her. ""Heidi has great enthusiasm for school and is a wonderful person," she said.

A few months into the school year, Heidi campaigned for secretary of her class and gave a speech in front of 360 students. Her competition dropped out along the way, so she got the job. "It's good for my college applications," she said.

She said she was shocked when Hamilton called her in to tell her she was Student of the Month. "I didn't believe her," she said. "There are a lot of people in my class."

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