Student of the Month - July 2020 (Yesenia Cruz Garduno)
Yesenia Cruz Garduno is a senior with a 3.2GPA at Atlas Preparatory School in Colorado Springs. After several suicides occurred in Yesenia’s community, she was determined to change the narrative. She worked with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to develop new messaging about mental health and suicide prevention. This project ultimately led her to help create a suicide prevention campaign at her school. Yesenia plans to attend Pikes Peak Community College, and then transfer to a university. She aspires to be a police officer.
At school, Yesenia is Secretary of the Student Council, a member of the photography club, and a member of the varsity track and field team. She is also the President of Amnesty International. The goal of this group is to mitigate tension between law enforcement and the community. Yesenia’s favorite school subject is American literature because it offers a variety of interpretation that can be created from one question.
Yesenia is bilingual. She recognizes the importance of her native language, Spanish, to connect with her ancestors and to understand her culture. Yesenia is partnered with a mentor through the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. Her mentor teaches her that anything is possible through hard work. Yesenia is also a volunteer in the radiology department at UCHealth Memorial Hospital.
The AAYLC has had a significant impact on Yesenia. She learned that a community is not labeled by one thing, but by several factors and typically has one common goal. Students want to think outside the box to create positive solutions, and not become part of the label that society places upon them.