9 Family Connection: Cypress Creek H.S. student headed to Harvard to focus on scientific research


ORLANDO, Fla. - Bryan Peacker moved from Lima, Peru to the United States at the age of 7.

“I spoke no English at all,” the recent Cypress Creek High School graduate said. “When I came here I knew absolutely nothing. I would go into the classroom and I would feel completely lost”

But during the next ten years, Peacker learned the language and managed to excel in all academic areas. He ended up with an un-weighted GPA of 4.0 at Cypress Creek, while focusing on biology there. This fall, Peacker is headed to Harvard University, where he will focus on scientific research. And, Harvard wasn’t the only prestigious institution to recognize Peacker’s intelligence, talent and potential. He received acceptance letters from some of the most selective schools in the country, including Columbia, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, Rice, Northwestern and Emory.

Peacker intends to take advantage of Harvard’s science research facilities. “I’m really interested in going into research because it’s a way to kind of get a hands-on perspective on the sciences,” Peacker said. He eventually plans to apply to medical school after college. Peacker has had to overcome personal obstacles to succeed academically, but he offers his story as encouragement for others facing adversity.

“No matter what your situation is, there’s always hope and there’s always a way out,” Peacker said. “It just takes a lot of dedication and hard work.”

It was very rare for him to have less than five hours of homework, he explained. Still, he managed to find a balance, finding time to spend with his mother and his friends, when he wasn’t busy with school work. Beyond his academics, Peacker also played violin for the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra.

“The main thing is self-discipline and being able to motivate yourself to do all these things,” he said.

Julie Pierce, Peacker’s Senior English IB (International Baccalaureate) teacher, said that Peacker is one of the most humble and unpretentious students she has taught during more than 20 years in the classroom. And his personal story of growth, she said, is remarkable.

“When you think about the fact that he came from Peru, when he was seven years old and did not speak any English, and for him to demonstrate his abilities with his writing and with his oral communications skills, it’s unimaginable,” Pierce said. “He has definitely come a long way.”