It’s her way of saying thank you.

Thank you to the country she says gave her and her family so many opportunities.

“I’ve wanted to do something more and that more was going to an academy and then serving my country afterwards,” said Karla Guzman, a senior at Ridgeview High School.

Guzman is all about paying it forward.

“My family emigrated from El Salvador in the 80’s due to a civil war and in El Salvador you don’t see opportunities like this.  So serving my country to me is a way to say thank you for all of the opportunities I’ve been given, my brother has been given and my parents,” Guzman said.

Guzman will attend the United States Naval Academy where she plans to say thank you.

“I’m really grateful to live in this country and I want to give back the best way that I can and I think that’s serving in the military,” Guzman said.

“She got the tools so she’ll be ready and we’re proud of her wanting to be a doctor and serve the country,” said Patricia Guzman, Karla Guzman’s Mother.

She also has a big thank you for her parents.

“My parents they tell me you’re living the American Dream and so I want to be an example for not just people in Bakersfield, but people all over the United States that you can do it too,” Karla Guzman said.

“We always told both of them, her brother and her, that the sky is the limit so it’s up to them how far they want to go,” Patricia Guzman said.

And it seems she’s going to go far.

“People wonder about our youth today, but working with people like Karla just gives me more hope for the future than is possible,” said Carla Rivas, a counselor at Ridgeview High School.

“There will be people to support you and you just need to find those people and you know break through those barriers and do what you can do,” Karla Guzman said.

Guzman plans to major in chemistry and hopes to graduate in the top two percent of her class so she can attend medical school.

After serving her country in whatever capacity is needed, she’s set on becoming a doctor in the Navy.