"When I was growing up, I had a really difficult time with my confidence just on my appearance," Lobato, a senior at CEC Middle College, a high school in northwest Denver, said.
Then she met Mrs. Diaz, a teacher who introduced her to her sister, a fellow amputee. Lobato says that's when she started to change.
"It made me who I am today. All of the struggles, all of the late nights that when I cried myself to sleep because I didn't feel like I was beautiful enough," Lobato said.
Her high school counselor Mary Abbott says she turned her weaknesses into her strengths.
"She has grown into such a tremendous young lady," Abbott, a counselor at CEC Middle College, said. "She's learned to channel her emotions that she's gone through towards the greater good."
Not only will Lobato be the first person in her family to ever graduate high school, she was chosen as the student keynote speaker for the Denver Public Schools Foundation Gala last week.
She gave a speech her principal says moved the entire crowd of 1,200 people.
"I am not a very touchy feely guy, but I tell you what I had tears coming down my cheeks," Scott Springer, principal at CEC Middle College, said. "It was so emotional."
During the speech, Lobato told the crowd she wanted to become a high school math teacher. Then, she said she eventually wants to be the U.S. Secretary of Education.
A video of her speech was posted to YouTube and made it to the eyes of the current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Apparently, her speech moved him, too. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0ctP5EcEb0.
"Being able to talk to the Secretary of Education was something that never even crossed my mind and to have him call my cellphone," Lobato said.
Thursday morning, Duncan called Lobato directly after his aides coordinated the effort through her school. Lobato videotaped the whole thing.
Abbott could not believe it.
"I literally fell out of my seat," Abbott said.
"I heard you want my job, is that right?" Duncan asked on the phone.
Lobato had a curt reply.
"Yes, I do and I'm going to get it," Lobato said.
Lobato says she appreciates the time Duncan took the talk with her.
"To be able to inspire someone of that ranking is like, huh?" Lobato said. "I never thought I'd be able to do that."
So, you can add that to the list of things Lobato has done to beat the odds. Now, she's off to the University of Denver in the fall to start her career path towards Washington, D.C.
"Right after the phone call ended, I just gave a big cheesy smile and I was like, 'Oh, this is awesome,'" Lobato said.
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