Nineteen-year-old Maria Romero-Morfin was born four months premature. It was the first of many obstacles the Chandler-Gilbert Community College student would face in her path to Harvard University, where she will be attending next fall.
One of those obstacles -- serving as a manager for her father’s landscaping company since her parents can only speak a limited amount of English.
Taking care of his balances, ordering his W-2s, ordering his checks, ordering materials like sod," explained Romero-Morfin.
She’s held this role since the age of 13.
"My mom did not know English at all. She's barely learning a little bit of English," Romero-Morfin said.
A straight-A student throughout her life, she was considered the responsible one. And that’s why when she was accepted into Harvard two years ago. She had to turn it down because her father still needed her help.
"Devastating, very devastating,” said Romero-Morfin. “I wanted to cry. I actually did cry for two days."
After two years at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, she applied again to Harvard. In November, she received an e-mail notifying her that she had been accepted for the second time in two years.
This time she’s going and she hopes her story can inspire others.
"Never give up,” said Romero-Morfin. “Always try your hardest and try to exceed. Go beyond your comfort zone."
Romero-Morfin has a full scholarship to Harvard and plans on moving to the East Coast in June.
And to top off the good news, Romero-Morfin just became engaged to her boyfriend of seven years.