Angel Alejandro Chavez
Balboa High School
Soccer, Track, School Office Volunteer, Bayview Community Volunteer
Angel was born in SF and attended A.F Yu ES and Rooftop K.8. He takes his Mexican heritage seriously and has a collection of Mexican art. He is planning and pursuing his goals for the future. He’s interested in civil or mechanical engineering, and architecture. Angel is dedicated to helping his community. He has worked as a baker’s Assistant, participated in a culinary arts program in the Baview and volunteered at several community events like Black History Night.
“As a Chicano, I plan on inspiring other Latinos to reach their educational goals. Despite having a learning difference, I still demonstrate my hard work and perseverance. Although I’m still not sure which career path I want to take, I look forward to being able to work in different environments after college. Often Latinos are underrepresented in academic fields, I want to prove, to myself, and the rest of the world that stereotypes are inaccurate.”
Ashley Tercero Perez
SF International High School
Captain: Soccer and Volleyball, Assistant Teacher, 2nd Grade. Career Goal: School Counselor
Ashley was born in SF but as a baby went to live with her father in Guatemala and returned at 16 years old. It was a challenge for her to learn English, but she attended after school programs and worked hard to achieve her goals. Ashley is talented, highly capable, responsible and flexible. She works after school to pay for her living expenses and help her family in Guatemala. No matter the challenges, she maintains a possible attitude.
““My biggest challenge was to leave my dad because I was used to being with him. I would like to help young people who just come to the US; to inspire them to achieve their dreams. My motivation to go to college is my dad because I would like to help him with his basic needs. I want all my nieces and nephews to go to college and help them in the future.”
Betzabe Herrera Licona
Mission High School
Student Delegate SFUSD Board Of Ed, Peer Resources, Seven Tepees, PODER. Career Goal: Education & Ethnic Studies
Betzy (as she is known in her family and community) was born in Mexico and started at Mission Education Center-MEC, then went on to Alvarado ES & Aptos MS. She is a phenomenal person who always speaks truth to power. She is deeply aware of herself and unafraid to speak honestly about her challenges and what she needs to overcome them, while always putting herself in front to serve the community. Betzy takes on real issue such as wealth inequality, racism and xenophobia. She has humility and always leads with love.
“Arriving to new country was a difficult transition for us
and being an undocumented youth in America, has been
a significant challenge. Through PODER, I have protested
against luxury apartment buildings that have displaced many
local residents. After college I want to work with youth in my
community and become a role model for the next generation.”
Camila Martinez Perez
Volleyball Captain, College Track, United Playaz. Career Goal: Veterinarian, Business
Camila was born in Mexico and attended MEC & GJ Lau ES. She has resilience and surrounds herself with friends that serve as each other’s support. She has been a vital support to her classmates and is dedicated to her academics. In spite of many challenges, Camila has grown to be a strong, independent young woman. She embodies determination, hard work, maturity, self-awareness and positivity, not only because of her academic strength, but because of her character.
““We’ve faced many challenges throughout the years, but we’ve
gotten through them. I’m very outgoing and get very involved in
activities. Learning to speak English was the hardest part, but I
didn’t let it get me down; I used it as a motivation. In the future,
I want to give back, not only to my parents, but my community
because they have done so much for me.”
Liberal Arts, Social Science, Education
Carlos Ariel Padilla Hernandez
Thurgood Marshall High School
Latino Club, La Raza, After School Job. Career Goal: Computer Science
Carlos was born in Honduras and came to the US due to gang violence. He is a super sweet young man with a positive and joyful spirit. He works after school and weekends tohelp his family. He has been living in here for three years, and even with the challenges he faces, he has the motivation to stay calm and focused on his college goals. He is well-liked by his peers and teachers alike. He is committed to helping his family and his community.
““Tuve que abandonar mis estudios en mi país, por las
amenazas de la pandilla. Mis anhelos es de seguir adelante con
mis estudios cumpliendo todas mis metas y sueños, dispuesto
a siempre aprovechar cada oportunidad que se me presente al
máximo. Así puedo ayudar a mi madre, que es la persona mas
importante que tengo. Mi mayor deseo es ver una Honduras
productiva, generadora de oportunidades.”
June Jordan School For Equity
Seven Tepees, Seven Corps, Childcare Volunteer. Career Goal: Pharmaceutical Sciences
Daniel was born and raised in the Mission District and attended Bryant ES, Lick MS & Balboa HS. He is a leader who is empathetic to the struggles of his peers and community. He is strong, goal oriented, resilient and determined to succeed in the face of challenges. Daniel has spoken out against gentrification and is committed to promoting social justice, including enthusiastically volunteering his time on food drives, street clean ups, and other service projects. He has heart, something you can’t.
“I live in the Mission District with my mom and dad who are
both from Mexico. I’ve lived in the same apartment my whole
life. A challenge I have faced was the cops killing my brother
when was I was a sophomore. I have struggled to stay focused; I
am determined to succeed. My future hope is to be a pharmacy
tech to help my community and my parents.”
Medicine and Sociology
Daniel E Castenada Garcia
Balboa High School
Football, Soccer, Teacher’s Assistant, La Raza Club. Career Goal: Civil Engineer
Daniel was born in El Salvador and came to this country when he was 15. He is a hardworking and responsible young man that is continuously thinking and analyzing and is full of potential and motivation. His father passed away when Daniel just a child, but he is determined to reach his goals. In spite of challenges, he does not hesitate to go after what he wants.
“I grew up around a very close family and from them learned my values and morals. School was a very difficult experience at the beginning, but now that I have learned English, I help others with their homework. One of my dreams is to design and build houses. I enjoy all my math and art classes. Sports and La Raza Club have helped me develop social/community engagement with my peers. Being part of my community is what inspires me to go to college.”
Downtown High School
Iglesia, Maestro de múscia; Prep cook, Silver Park Soccer. Oscar was born
in El Salvador & attended MEC, Fairmount ES, J. Lick MS, Balboa HS, & Mission HS. He was often a troubled student. Outdoor education and
music programs helped him turn his life around. In group work settings,
Oscar is excepcional. He is a natural leader.
“Como estudiante indocumentado tuve y tengo muchos obstáculos en la vida. Yo supe que no tenía las mismas oportunidades como otros desde una temprana edad. He sobrepasado muchos retos. Me ayudaron
actividades que le daban más importancia a mi bienestar. Si yo
obtengo esta beca tendría ayuda financiera, esto me brinda aún
más cerca de mis sueños porque sabré que tengo ayuda, apoyo
para seguir adelante, tendré en mi mente que no puedo defraudar
a nadie menos a mi mismo.”
Burton High School
Student Leader, La Raza Club; Captain, Soccer Team; Volunteer, Food
Bank. Nancy attended ER Taylor ES & Dr. ML King MS. Nancy carries
with her a thirst for knowledge and growth, from scientific theories and
concepts to social justice. She does not simply see things as they exist;
she sees them for what they could be. Nancy is particularly passionate
about social justice including equity in education and environmental
justice. The daughter of hard working Mexican parents searching for a
better future, Nancy sees herself as a role model and believes that
preparing herself with a college education will allow her to help others.
“I have volunteered feeding the homeless in the Tenderloin. This is
an example of promoting social justice because it’s important to
help people in need.”
June Jordan High School
Young Peoples Project tutor; La Raza Chair: Urban Sprouts intern. Marisol
attended SF Community K-8. She is resilient and is determined to
succeed despite obstacles. When challenges pilled up during high
school, she was able to bounce back and continue working towards her
goals. Marisol is a natural leader and takes initiative to challenge herself,
her peers, and the adults around her to fight for social justice. She has
advanced social skills and builds relationships across differences.
“I’ve gotten the attention and support I need academically and
personally. School has taught me the importance of community. My
goal is to educate other people to question the norms of society
and become involved with social justice. The greatest resistance is
Gender & Women’s Studies
Jannelly Hernandez Umanzor
Lincoln High School
CUESA Translator; TA, Spanish Class; Truth is our Peace, Volunteer.
Jannelly attended LR Flynn & Aptos MS. She has developed a strong
sense of inner direction and a growth mindset. She is an exceptional
student because of her enthusiasm, her passion for learning and her
desire to connect with the world.
“I want to be an example to society
and demonstrate that a disabled, minority female has the
persistence and intelligence to become a successful entrepreneur
with an open mind and a loving heart. When I was a year old, the
doctors told my mother that I had cerebral palsy. It has been
difficult for me to write and complete work at the same pace as
others, but I can write, read, learn and study. I want to develop
apps that can make life easier for other people, with and without
Galileo High School
Boston University Summer Challenge Program; Heart in Motion volunteer;
Sales job. Marcela attended Tenderloin ES and Roosevelt MS. From an
early age and from both parents, she has been deeply impressed about
the value of education. Marcela has a bold, passionate side that was
evident when she gave her classroom president candidate speech,
which was validated when students voted her the winner. She has the
academic skills, potential, drive an motivation to be successful and
“I will apply my learning to improve early education and
learning development for children. I would love to work with
professionals to research how we can equip schools to teach
students about racial injustice and prepare them to address these
issues in the real world.”
Sociology and Education
Leydi Robero Chavez
Mission High School
Immigrants Rising; Enterprise for Youth; Distributes blankets to homeless.
Leydi attended J Lick MS. She grew up in El Salvador missing her father
who had come to the US just before she was born. Her grandfather felt
like her real father. He stressed the importance of education. When she
arrived here she was placed in 8th grade and struggled with English, but
she is grounded in a way that few teenagers are, and has a deep sense of
dedication and purpose. Leydi is an incredible student and a wonderful
person. Her demeanor is always positive, her focus excellent, and her
“Learning English was difficult at first but working
hard helped me. I hope to achieve my goals so that I can help my
community. I also want to be a good role model to my little sister.”
Kenia Lissete Xicum Montiel
Balboa High School
415 Unidos for Freedom Founder; Excelsior Family Connections,
Volunteer; Garden at Balboa. Kenia attended Sanchez ES and middle
school in Mexico where she was born. She grew up living with her two
single parents, her mom in Mexico and her dad here. Kenia is organized,
resilient, persevering, and passionate about education and helping
others. She thrives in the face of challenge through her own
“I will be the first in my family to go to college. I
want to make my parents proud, as I am very thankful for their
sacrifices. They are my inspiration. I co-founded a student group to
support immigrant students by offering school help and college
planning. Having a supportive community can help immigrant
youth like myself find the confidence to invest in their education.”
Biology, Chicano Studies
J O’Connell High School
JVS Intern; Sales job; Mission Graduates. Kimberly is part of the
Entrepreneurship & Culinary Arts Lab at school and works to help
support her family. She is resilient and has a big heart. Kimberly is an
intellectually curious, ambitious young woman, committed to becoming
the first in her family to attend college. She commutes every day from
Oakland to attend school, but she is determined.
immigrated from El Salvador. Growing up, I had no father figure in
my life. My mom would struggle financially, but she did everything
possible to raise three kids on her own. I want to make college a
reality. I can help out my community by becoming a nurse and
helping out people who struggle with illness.”
Medicine, Ethnic Studies, Criminology
Karen Albarran Paz
Lowell High School
Seeds ODC Dance Member; La Raza Club; United to Save the Mission.
Karen was born in Mexico and attended Alvarado & KIPP. She is self-
directed, organized, highly academic, as well as being a creative thinker
and group leader with a tremendous heart and genuine care for her
classmates. She is proud of her culture and faces challenges with her
head held high. She stays connected with her Latinx community, which
is small at Lowell.
“I’ve faced significant challenges in my life. Our
situation in Mexico was dangerous. The journey of gaining status
here hasn’t been easy. I also faced difficulties with peers because
they would make jokes a out my immigration status. I was
determined to face them with pride of being an immigrant.
Through the many challenges I’ve faced at school and in my
personal live, I’ve overcome!”
Women’s Panel, Youth Speaks Poets, 4.0 Honor Role, Martial Arts, Creative Writer Contest.
She was born in Mexico, attended J Serra & Lick. Two years ago she was living in a car with her mother because they lost their house. Work around that and other struggles in the family brought out the strong woman that was getting buried under all the pain. Her goal is to study psychology.
“I want to learn where human actions come from and combine social work with therapy…specifically with immigrant families.”
Sociology, Psychology, Ethnic Studies
Student of the month, Street Soccer.
She attended Marshall, Everett, Marina & Galileo. Coming here with her family from Yucatan, walking across the desert and suffering from hunger, accustomed Lizet to struggle and practice determination. Her family has lived with little money and poor housing. Now, with her partner, it’s hard to make ends meet.
“Being a teen mom, I learned how to be responsible, independent, and how to communicate. These experiences have made me a better student who really wants to do something to help other people and to give back what people have given me.”
Student of Yr., Mock Trial Best, Volunteer, Salesforce Intern, Chick Tech.
She attended Chavez & Giannini. Maria suffered discouragement from hearing she would not be able to go to college because of her citizenship status, but the Deferred Action for Childhood changed her habits, and she worked tirelessly to redirect her school work, even one summer in COSMOS at UC Irvine learning computer skills.
“I have the power to make my dreams a reality and be able to help others in my community.”
Thurgood Marshall HS
Latinos United, Soccer.
He was born in El Salvador and arrived 3 years ago to reunite with his family that he had not seen for 12 years. In addition to working hard in school, he’s had to work long hours at night with his parents. He enjoys helping other newcomers feel comfortable and welcomed, offering himself as a resource. Ronaldo is committed to defeating the cycle of poverty.
“We all should have the opportunity to succeed in life. Even though I have experienced difficulties, I will never give up overcoming hard times.”
Mission High School
CORO Youth Fellow, Internships: Chinatown Development Center, Matter of Trust, Peer Mentoring, Volunteering and Translator.
She was born in Mexico and attended Chavez and H Mann. At seven, Yinia came to the US with her mom and siblings. The transition demanded strength and fight. She has worked two jobs while at school to help her family. She has a great deal of responsibility at home and has still made her education a success, including working well with other students.
“My goal is to open the path for the future generations of my family and community to go to college.”
Child Development, Elementary Teacher