Tragedy does not stop Cool Kid's goals

LOS ANGELES After her father died, Gerleroz moved from the Philippines to a new home in Los Angeles. At 15-years-old, with just her brother and her mom, she knew her life was changed forever.

"All I have in mind after my dad, you know, passed away is that I need to stand up for my family now," said Gerleroz. "It's me that they're going to depend on."

Four years later, Gerleroz is an honor student and the battalion commander of the Belmont High School ROTC. She sees the position as a way to offer advice to other students.

"Really look at themselves and realize that, 'Hey, I have a whole life in front of me and I'm going to do my best to benefit the people around me,'" said Gerleroz.

Her desire to learn and continue to help others includes plans for college and more.

"After four years, I'm planning to go to UC San Francisco to finish my pharmacy degree," said Gerleroz.

She has faced obstacles that have stopped others, but her perseverance is strong.

"Going on with your life and being successful, that's a very important thing for me," said Gerleroz.

A leader now and an inspiration for years to come, she is our Cool Kid, Gerleroz Exconde.

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