Eau Claire (WQOW)- A former Old Abe is now making history across state lines.
This week, Sophia Vuelo will become the first Hmong-American judge appointed in the state of Minnesota.
Before she started breaking down barriers, she graduated high school at Memorial High School in Eau Claire. Now, she is a solo practitioner at Vuelo Law where she takes on cases of juvenile and family protection.
On Wednesday, News 18 spoke with Amber Dernbach, Vuelo's former classmate and a current teacher at Memorial who said Vuelo has always been driven, hard-working and a leader. She said she knew Vuelo was going to do great things, both for herself and for others.
"I think everybody, especially in high school needs to see more mirror images of themselves. So for example, Hmong-American students seeing a Hmong-American judge, and not only someone who's from Eau Claire but somebody who came to this country as a child. This is a story that I've shared with my students, especially those students who were not born in the U.S.," said Dernbach.
Dernbach said she hopes Vuelo's accomplishment shows her students that if you put your mind to something and are driven, you can make it happen.