Buford High School’s Student Spotlight is Barbara Machado-Requena. Barbara is the 17-year-old daughter of Mariangelica Requena and Luis Machado. She lives with her parents in Lawrenceville and, now a senior, has been a student in Buford since second grade.
A true lover of language, Barbara excels academically and was a 2021 Governor’s Honors Program semifinalist in communicative arts, having been nominated by BHS’s language arts department in 2020 and 2021. She is trilingual — completely proficient in English and Spanish. She also studied Mandarin Chinese for four years.
Maintaining a 3.98 GPA, Barbara has taken AP world history, AP U.S. history and AP language and composition. She is currently taking AP environmental science, AP literature, AP statistics and AP U.S. government. She was named the Georgia Chinese Language Educators Association Metro-Atlanta Star Student of the Year for 2016, 2017 and 2019, and holds a paid position at the BHS Writing Center as a peer tutor, where she can be found most mornings before school.
Outside of class, Barbara continues her love of learning and academic pursuits. In 2020, she joined the Book Club at BHS and became an officer in 2021. She has been a member of the Key Club since 2018 and joined the leadership team in 2019. She’s been a member of the Quiz Bowl team since 2018, the National Honor Society since 2020, the National Art Honor Society since 2018 and the Beta Club since 2019.
Her love of language is a natural segue into her next literature-based love: singing. Her artistic involvement has included participation in the BHS Chamber Chorus since 2019 and the Buford City Girls’ Choir since 2018, which afforded her the opportunity to travel to Switzerland and Austria in 2019. She has also been a member of Advanced Musical Theatre at BHS since 2019 and was inducted into the National Thespian Society in 2019. She is currently a member of the GHSA State Literary Trio.
It seems natural that a young lady with such an affinity for language would choose her language arts and chorus teachers as her favorites.
“Mr. Taylor Greer and Mr. Jeff Gillis both have a sincere understanding and daily practice on how to make students feel welcome and appreciated, both in and out of the classrooms,” she said. “I would stay in Mr. Greer’s class all day because he is one of the most down-to-earth teachers you will ever meet, and it would be so much fun to get to sing with all my peers in different class periods, too.”
When she’s not involved in something at school, she enjoys reading and singing, photography and spending free time with family and friends. She is an avid vinyl, cassette and CD collector and enjoys going to concerts.
Barbara also enjoys traveling and being exposed to other cultures. Just for fun, she enjoys learning alphabets and basic, conversational phrases in other languages. She lived in Venezuela for two months out of each year through the age of 10 and in Panamá for one month this past year.
“Becoming proficient in both academics (specifically language arts) and the performing arts has provided me with a unique perspective into how music can affect communication all throughout the world,” Barbara said. “I’ve recognized the limitations that language barriers create. However, I’ve observed first-hand that they can be diminished through the expression of something as universal as musical performance.”
Now that she’s a senior, Barbara has some words of wisdom to share with underclassmen: “Slow down. And by this I don’t mean to gently neglect your studies, but take time out of your day to simply absorb what’s around you. Being in high school will be one of the last opportunities we, as students, get in life to enjoy the freedoms of the world, without all the responsibilities of adulthood. We are so lucky to be in a community as close-knit as Buford, so take these years to develop friendships, make mistakes, and become the best version of yourself that you could possibly be.”
After graduation from BHS, Barbara plans to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree related to humanities or communication.