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Monserrat Lopez, 17, from San Diego High School never imagined she would be opening a Padres’ game by singing the national anthem.
But tonight she will open the Padres vs. Cincinnati Reds at 6:30 p.m. at Petco Park, with part of the game’s proceeds benefiting Father Joe’s Villages.
“I’m so happy,” said Lopez. “I’ve been so eager the past month and a half because not many people get that opportunity.”
This half Turkish and half Mexican teen lives at Toussaint Academy, a group home that serves homeless youth in San Diego County.
For special events, she sings three or four songs, and the academy’s staff noticed she has a singing talent.
Before Lopez moved to Toussaint, she was living in Temecula with her brother, father and stepmother until one day her father disappeared after being mentally and physically ill.
That is when Lopez, who was 15 at the time, decided to move downtown with her brother to continue with their education.
“I didn’t want to be in the streets, so I thought that moving to Toussaint would be a good thing,” shared Lopez.
Her brother got accepted to UC San Diego and is studying there now, while her mom is living with a family and looking for a job.
In just two years, her life has turned around, and she is positive about the future. Lopez currently works as a waitress at Pierre's Place.
Lopez is the band president at her high school and part of the International Baccalaureate Program designed for highly motivated students taking pre-college courses.
Her goal is to attend a local university, Stanford or Berkeley to pursue a career in chemistry.
“You don’t always do the wrong thing to get homeless, sometimes it just happens to you,” Lopez said. “Never give up and always go to every door possible because the craziest things will turn out to be something amazing.”