Denisse Maldonado-Luna, boarding school extraordinaire

By Elise Pattison

Denisse Maldonado-Luna is from Puebla, Mexico. She is a junior here at UT, as well as an honors student and a sister in sorority Kappa Alpha Theta. Denisse is studying Creative Writing and English, but “fiction is not my thing,” she says. Her favorite class has been Creative Nonfiction. “I love nonfiction and I didn’t even know I would like it!” she says.

Before attending UT Denisse had seen several boarding schools in several countries including Ireland and Switzerland. She spent her second two years of high school at the local Saddlebrook Academy, where she played for the tennis team and graduated with a class of fifteen. Denisse injured her ankle and hasn’t been able to play tennis since.

Although tennis was now out of the equation here in Tampa, Denisse decided to stay for her boyfriend Adam. Adam is a golf player at USF, and lives with his strict Muslim parents. Denisse’s family is not so strict. Her parents are separated and while her mother is her benefactor, she dislikes her father. Denisse lives downtown near her best friend, Sharifa Al-Ghanim. Sharifa is a Muslim from Kuwait. Denisse’s favorite iPhone app is the Quran, because both her boyfriend and her best friend sparked her interest in Islam.

Denisse is happily attending UT for the summer while spending time with Adam, who recently taught her for the first time how to ride a bike. Denisse now owns her own bicycle. “I love bike-riding, I ride all the time now!” she exclaims. As for her future career, Denisse hopes to be published but not to work. “I don’t see myself working,” she says.

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