By Lauren Pastrana

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — For senior high school students, the coronavirus pandemic upended plans to celebrate their success at the end of the school year, including Flora Ranis who is no stranger to the spotlight.

As co-president of the National English Honor Society at American Heritage School in Plantation, she organized and participated in open-mic nights and literary discussions where all eyes were on her.

But, that’s not all.

“I was the Vice President as well as the President of the National Honor Society and through that club we were able to do multiple things. I organized over five restaurant fundraisers to raise money for a peer of mine who is battling pancreatic cancer right now. So basically, trying to make a difference through that club,” she said.

She served as an advocate for Teen Court of Broward County and volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club.

Flora logged more than 800 service hours as an underclassman.

She was also in the science and Spanish honor societies and received the Outstanding Student Award in her senior year for her great grades and commitment to her community.

“To me, I feel like it’s not important just grades and things like that, but taking what I learned in the classroom and expanding that in the community,” Flora said. “So like in my class, learning about global warming and then seeing how can I affect that in the community. More than just studying for a test. How can I make a difference with that knowledge?”

While wrapping up her high school experience from home wasn’t part of the plan, Flora prefers to look at the bright side.

“There’s always the rainbow after the storm,” she said. “I think we came together as the class of 2020. My friends and I kind of bonded over that and I think our class is stronger and more unified than ever. There’s that positive which is enjoyable to see.”

Flora plans to attend Yale University in the fall. She hasn’t settled on a major, but is interested in criminal justice as well as art and Spanish.

She says as long as she’s making a difference, she knows she’ll be happy.

Lauren Pastrana