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Standout Senior 2023: Karilynn Cuevas-Rodriguez

Wrestling ‘helped shape me into who I am today,’ says ECU-bound graduate


Each year, Cumberland County Schools names a graduating senior at each high school as a Standout Senior. The 17 2023 Standout Seniors are bright, hard-working students who have overcome the odds to graduate and dedicate themselves to serving their community.

To learn more about their plans to attend college, serve in the military or begin their careers, go to www.ccs.k12.nc.us/graduation.

Karilynn Cuevas-Rodriguez will graduate from Seventy-First High School. She answered these questions about his education and his future.

  • What accomplishment are you most proud of or what do you want to be remembered for?

An accomplishment that I am most proud of is my singing and wrestling career here at Seventy-First High. I’ve been singing since the ninth grade, and over time my talents have grown. I love music. It is something I have always had a passion for and it’s definitely something I will continue doing. Wrestling is something I want to be remembered for; it is also something I’m proud of. I joined the wrestling program at Seventy First High in October 2021. It was different for me because I had never fully committed myself to a sport the way I did with wrestling. It was definitely a love-at-first-sight kind of thing.

  • What are your plans after graduation?

After high school, I plan to attend East Carolina University to major in business and entrepreneurship as well as join the Air Force ROTC program. To further my wrestling career, I will continue to do club wrestling for ECU.

  • How many volunteer hours have you accrued?

I have accrued approximately 50 plud hours through my volunteer work while being in the JROTC program at Seventy First High.

  • Have you received any scholarships?

I have received a $1,500 scholarship from ECU.

  • Please list your extracurricular activities and tell us about your favorite.

Some of my extracurricular activities include three years of JROTC, four years of choir, one soccer season, and two wrestling seasons. My favorite activity has to be wrestling. It has helped shape me into who I am today. Wrestling was definitely something new to me that I loved instantly and will continue to love for the rest of my life.

  • Do you have a self-statement or a favorite quote that best describes you and your aspirations for the future?

Before my last match in the state tournament this year, my wrestling coaches told me to “leave it all on the mat.” I have since followed their advice. To me, it means that no matter the outcome, you need to give it your all in any situation that comes your way. Nothing is expected in a match or in life, so you always have to be prepared for everything.

  • How do you feel Cumberland County Schools has prepared you for your future?

CCS has prepared me by making multiple opportunities available to me. It’s not only what they gave me but what I made from it. I’ve had amazing teachers, mentors, counselors, coaches that have helped me shape my high school years and my education at Seventy-First High. I don’t think I would have done anything different because I have made the best of what I have thus far.

  • Is there someone on staff in the school system (a teacher, administrator, coach, etc.) who has made a lasting impression on you? What lesson did they teach you that you will always remember?

My wrestling coach, Coach Harris, has made a lasting impression on me. He’s become the most influential person in my life ever since I started wrestling. He’s become someone who I will always look up to because of the wisdom that he always had. Two lessons he has taught me were to always be mentally strong and take care of myself mentally and physically. Your mind is what makes you who you are. He’s always had high expectations of his athletes because he knows they have the talent to be successful, whichever path they choose to follow. To me, learning from him has been the best outcome when it comes to making my life decisions. I trust him to help me make good decisions in my life. Whenever I’m confused or don’t know what to do, I will ask him for advice and, no matter what, it is always the right choice.

  • What elementary school did you attend?

I attended La Academia Adventista Del Norte in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

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Cumberland County, education, Seventy-First High School, wrestling