Brenda Patiño embraces new challenges in United States

Brenda Patiño hopes to graduate next year. When she enrolled at Kingwood Park in January, some of her credits did not transfer from Colombia. She spent a lot of time studying in hopes of earning credit by testing out of some classes.

Valentina Blanco, Staff Writer

In December 2020, Brenda Patiño moved from Colombia to the United States to be reunited with her mother.

“It has been a great change in my life to move to this country,” said Patiño, whose mom arrived a few months before to get settled. “It is a lot of fun to be here enjoying a new experience. My mom’s family has lived in Houston for many years so that’s why we decided to move.”

The experience of moving to another country has brought challenges for Patiño, who strives every day to move forward and be better.

Patiño started school at Kingwood Park in January and had difficulties validating her credits, since in Colombia the education system is different. She had to present all of her academic reports and certificates, showing that she studied English since she was a child. Despite all of her paperwork, the district would not validate any high school English credit.

“When I came here they tried to give me all the credits they could, but some were harder to get than others,” Patiño said.

This year would be her senior year in Colombia. However, the 16-year-old was originally placed as a junior at Kingwood Park because of the number of credits accepted. Not satisfied with the label, Patiño decided to try to earn “credit by exam” for the first semester of English I, a full year of English II and a semester of pre-calculus.

She prepared and studied on her own for the exams for a month. 

“English exams tend to have a lot of reading, and this was no exception,” Patiño said. “I had to read more than 12 plays, stories and poems to have good preparation. The most difficult was the second semester of English II. I think I was ready for the test but there were some questions that kept me thinking more than usual.”

To receive the credits, Patiño has to score at least an 80. If she passes the exams, she will be a senior next year. If she doesn’t pass, she will return next fall as a junior. Either way, she hopes to make the varsity swim team next year and looks forward to her classes.

“Whatever the results of those exams, it will be fine,” Patiño said. “If I had moved earlier, my credits could be better. I am happy to be here right now, so staying another year at school could be a new experience for me.”