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Peoria teen makes Valley proud, achieving dreams along the way

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Posted at 7:40 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 22:40:41-04

PEORIA — A Peoria teen is making the Valley proud.

17-year-old Grace Godinez has been selected as one of 32 students in the world, who will be attending a prestigious aerospace program on the east coast.

She says she’s been working for this ever since she could remember, and going to the Yale Summer Program in Astrophysics is a dream come true.

“I’m honestly just in shock because I never thought I could get this far,” she said.

While this is all still surreal to her, Grace says she couldn't be more excited.

“The Yale Summer Program for Astrophysics is just basically me in a nutshell,” she told ABC15.

She says while other kids asked for one more lullaby, “My bedtime stories were always science. It was always…oh, tell me about the moon. Tell me about the planets,” Grace said, with pride.

She says that passion only grew at BASIS Peoria, where one of her teachers worked for NASA.

“So, she was the type of person that worked on the Mars rovers,” said Grace.

Now, the soon-to-be senior wants to follow in her teacher’s footsteps.

“Getting the satellites up in space, some more rovers, and definitely working the rockets. Seeing how they’re built is honestly just amazing,” she said, while explaining what she wanted to do in the future.

While Grace has hit her $3,000 goal on GoFundMe, she still needs to raise more money to get her and her mom to Yale.

“My mom has always been my first inspiration,” said Grace.

Grace's mom, Su-Lyn, has been battling cancer for several years and is now in remission. She is hoping to be able to be with her daughter for this big achievement.

“She raised me to basically know that I can do whatever I put my mind to,” Grace told ABC15.

The Peoria teen wants every Hispanic girl, like her, to know the sky's the limit.

“I really want to be an influence,” she said with confidence.

The Yale Summer Program in Astrophysics 2022 will start with the online program June 27 through July 8. The on-campus residential program will be held from July 10 through August 6, 2022.