MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For some students graduating with honors, learning didn’t always come easy.

“Especially in elementary, it was really hard for me,” Jared Barreto said. “Especially when I came to reading and writing. I had difficulty with it.”

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Today’s “Senior Spotlight” is shining bright on Jared, who says he struggled when he was younger.

He remembers his third grade teacher helped him overcome his educational obstacles.

They keep in touch all these years later and she actually nominated him for today’s “Senior Spotlight.”

“I actually have to thank her because she helped me out a lot,” he said. “Between her and my mom and my other third grade teachers, they got more in tune in to education and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now.”

Right now, Jared isn’t just a graduating senior from iMater High School.

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He’s also graduating from Miami-Dade College and Doral College with two associates degrees and a weighted 4.9 GPA.

“Right now I’m in the top 10% of my grade,” he said. “I’ve been in several different clubs. I’m the treasurer of the Science National Honor Society club and the environmental club, I’m the treasurer of that too. I am in the National Honor Society, the Math Honor Society and the English Honor Society.”

He says it’s been tough adjusting to virtual school and the idea that his senior year didn’t go quite as planned.

But he has some advice for younger students who might find this time challenging as well.

“Especially for elementary, I want to tell them that it would get better. Especially if you find a teacher that that inspires you,” Jared said. “Education, to me personally, is a game changer for anyone. It could literally alter your life. That’s why I feel like everyone should get and have a strong connection with education to better their lives.”

Jared plans to attend Florida State University in the fall and major in finance.

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His goal is get his doctorate in economics and have a career in politics one day.

Lauren Pastrana