Montserrat Tejeda Muñoz is a driven and ambitious student who is determined to make a positive impact on her community. Born into a Mexican immigrant family, she understands the value of education and the opportunities it can provide. From a young age, Montserrat’s parents instilled in her the belief that education is the key to success and the way to create a better future.
Montserrat graduated from Peach County High School in Fort Valley, Georgia in the top 5% of her class with a 4.o GPA. Montserrat’s commitment to academic excellence earned her various honors and awards, the Georgia Merit Scholar recognition, and being a Distinguished Pathway Completer in Healthcare.
Beyond her academic pursuits, Montserrat has actively engaged in extracurricular activities and organizations that allow her to develop her full potential while contributing to her community. She participated in many service organizations, clubs and varsity sports including: Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA). BETA Club, Spanish Club, Future Farmers of America (FFA), played on the tennis team, varsity cheerleading and was a member of the Audio Visual program.
Through her volunteer work, Montserrat has demonstrated her commitment to helping others and giving back to her community. She has been an enthusiastic participant in various initiatives including coordinating blood drives, serving as a translator at various school wide events, and tutoring elementary school students in Spanish, teaching others about Mexican culture through folkloric dances, and offering translation services for catechism classes at Saint Juliana’s Catholic Church.
Montserrat’s dedication to community service extends beyond cultural events and educational settings. She is also a volunteer at the Fort Valley Senior Center where she offers companionship and support to the elderly residents and is actively involved in initiatives like the Backpack Buddies program, which provides food to school-aged children in need.
Driven by her own experiences and a desire to create positive change, Montserrat aspires to pursue a career in the medical field. She aims to become a bilingual doctor, bridging language barriers and providing compassionate care to underserved populations. Montserrat envisions opening a clinic in Fort Valley, Georgia, where she can offer bilingual and culturally sensitive healthcare services to the community. She is motivated by the opportunity to increase the representation of Hispanics/Latinos in the medical profession and inspire others, especially those facing economic hardships, to pursue higher education.
Montserrat’s journey is fueled by gratitude for her parents’ sacrifices and determination to make the most of the opportunities they did not have. She is committed to creating a brighter future not just for herself but also for those who share similar backgrounds and dreams. Montserrat’s story exemplifies the power of education, resilience, and the profound impact one person can have on a community.
Fabio Avila is a graduate of Dunwoody High School, where he excelled academically, enrolling in numerous AP courses including Psychology, Geography, Spanish, Environmental Science, Computer Science, and Spanish Literature. His dedication and hard work earned him a 4.1 GPA and a place on honor roll.
In addition to his academic pursuits, Fabio served as the President of HoPE (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education) and was a member of the Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, and National English Honor Society, exemplifying his dedication to academic excellence and community involvement.
Fabio’s passion for soccer led him to participate on various teams including JV and Varsity at Dunwoody High and travel team like United Football Academy and Rush Union.
Understanding the needs of children of immigrants motivates Fabio to dedicated time to organizations such as Corners Outreach, where he provides tutoring assistance to elementary and middle school children. He also volunteered as a translater at Hightower and Kingsley Elementary during parent teach conferences, served in his church through various donation drives benefitting Central American countries and by participating in yearly youth retreats.
During all four years of high school, Fabio held a part-time position as a factory worker to help ease the financial burden of his single mother.
As an immigrant, Fabio’s experiences have deeply influenced his perspective on education and his drive to succeed. Despite the initial language barrier and feelings of being an outsider, he realized that education was the key to transforming his life and supporting his family. Witnessing his mother’s sacrifices inspired him to value education as a means to improve their circumstances.
Fabio’s journey has shaped his strong work ethic, instilled by his mother’s’ resilience and determination to create a better future. Despite facing limitations as an undocumented individual, he remains committed to using education for personal growth and positive change.
Fabio’s journey as an immigrant has taught him the value of education. It has shown him that education is not solely about individual success but also about uplifting the lives of others and fostering positive change. With his unwavering determination and commitment to educational equity, Fabio aspires to advocate for equal access to quality education, ensuring that all individuals can fulfill their potential.
Santiago Gomez, a graduate of Duluth High School, is a talented trombone player. His musical journey began at age six when his uncle introduced him to the world of music. Santiago quickly developed a love for the trombone, inspired and captivated by the instrument.
Originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela, where his passion for music flourished.. At eight years old, began taking lessons from his first teacher, Maria Soto, whom he profoundly appreciates for her guidance and support. The following year, he auditioned for the Simon Bolivar National Children’s Orchestra, rehearsing with the Rafael Urdaneta Regional Youth Orchestra to prepare. Although he ranked 5th in the audition, he did not secure a spot in the national orchestra.
Undeterred, Santiago persevered and auditioned again the following year, successfully earning a place in the Regional Children’s Orchestra of Zulia state at the age of 10. During this time, he had the opportunity to perform remarkable pieces such as the 4th Movement of Tchaikovsky, “Les toreadores,” “Kanaima,” and “El Alma Llanera.”
Santiago’s dedication to his craft led him to participate in numerous festivals throughout Venezuela exposing him to some of the country’s leading youth orchestras, recognized trombone players and professors, several who, seeing his talent, became teachers and mentors.
In pursuit of better opportunities, Santiago’s family immigrated to the United States in 2019 and immediately was introduced to the Atlanta Music Project Foundation, who, seeing his passion for music, provided him with a trombone. He joined their orchestra and performed with them for two years. In the eleventh grade, after COVID restrictions were lifted, he joined the school school band where his commitment and talent shone through, rising quickly to principal trombone for both the school band and the Gwinnett District Honor Band. He was later selected for the All-State GMEA 2023 Symphonic Band in Georgia.
In addition to his dedication to music, Santiago is engaged in community service and volunteering. He is an active member of the Worship Team at his church and also teaches music to middle and elementary school students, helping them improve their skills and fostering a love for music with them.
As an immigrant, he understands the struggles and dreams shared by many immigrants seeking a better future. Santiago’s desire to attend college is driven by his passion for music and the opportunity to help his family. He envisions a better life for his mother, who has worked tirelessly to provide for their family since immigrating to the United States. Through his professional music career, Santiago hopes to help his parents and create a future that provides for their needs and fulfills their dreams.
Anelis Florio is a motivated high school senior with a strong work ethic and a passion for creative endeavors. She excels in effectively communicating and adapting to different environments. Anelis is seeking hands-on experience to further develop her skills in the cybersecurity or technologies industries.
With proficient knowledge of Network Security Practices and critical thinking abilities, Anelis demonstrates her attention to detail and problem-solving skills. Fluent in English and Spanish, she possesses excellent communication abilities and thrives in collaborative settings.
Anelis is currently a senior at Phoenix Coding Academy in Phoenix, Arizona, where she maintains an impressive GPA of 4.3 (3.6 unweighted). Her educational focus lies in Cyber Security, and she actively participates in extracurricular activities such as Student Government, Art club, and the National Honor Society. In addition, she has enrolled in a dual enrollment program for Cyber Security, further enhancing her knowledge in the field. Anelis also acquired the CompTIA IT Fundamentals certification in May 2022.
In terms of professional experience, Anelis worked at Whataburger in Phoenix, Arizona, from June 2021 to November 2021. In this role, she excelled at assisting customers with order selections, ensuring their satisfaction. She also contributed to the handling and preparation of safe products, trained employees on machine operations and cash handling, and conducted customer satisfaction surveys. Anelis took responsibility for maintaining a clean and sanitized working environment, ensuring compliance with health standards.
Anelis has dedicated her time to volunteering at Wake Up! in Phoenix, Arizona, from August 2020 to May 2021. Through this experience, she actively participated in supplying and preparing food for people in need. She also contributed to cleaning and improving neighborhoods and alleyways, promoting a better living environment for the community. Furthermore, she organized a successful toy drive during Christmas, providing canned foods, booster seats, toys, and hot food to needy families.
Anelis’s passion for rocks extends beyond their physical appearance. To her, they represent the stories of people’s journeys, with each crevice, crack, color, texture, and size conveying unique experiences. She draws inspiration from her resilient mother, who faced numerous challenges, from physical abuse to tirelessly working towards the elusive “American Dream.” Anelis recognizes the sacrifices her mother made to provide her with better opportunities. This appreciation drives her determination to excel academically and pursue a career in a male-dominated STEM field, serving as a role model for other young girls.
As she begins college, Anelis is ready to tackle any obstacles that come her way. Her willingness to accept her weaknesses and keep pushing forward sets her apart from others. Anelis hopes to make a difference by showing that everyone, regardless of their background, size, or appearance, has their own story and that these experiences shape who they are as individuals.
Gabriel Aguilera is a committed and dedicated student whose primary focus is education, community service, and personal development. He was born as the child of immigrants from Sinaloa, Mexico, and Mexico City, which has given him a unique appreciation for the power of education as a tool for empowerment and social mobility.
From a young age, Gabriel has understood that education is a gateway to a better future for himself, his family, and the community he lives in. His immigrant background has taught him the value of hard work and perseverance as he witnessed his parents’ journey to the United States and their determination to provide a better life for their families. This has instilled in him a strong work ethic and a never-give-up attitude.
Gabriel has maintained an outstanding grade point average and has been recognized on the Honor Roll throughout his four years of high school. Additionally, he has had the opportunity to participate in the Avondale Police Explorers program since the 9th grade. As a Sergeant, he has mentored other young people interested in a career in law enforcement, teaching them about policing and ensuring they are on the right path.
Outside of school, Gabriel has been involved in several significant extracurricular activities. He has volunteered at events such as “Shop with A Cop,” where victims of heinous crimes are given Walmart gift cards and paired with a police officer to enjoy a unique shopping experience in a police interceptor with lights and sirens. Gabriel has also participated in the “Trunk or Treat” event, handing out treats to the community on Halloween. He has been part of crowdfunding events like the “5k SuperHero Run” to help children with physical disabilities.
In terms of employment and internships, Gabriel has worked at Target, fulfilling online orders and assisting customers in various departments such as general merchandise, checkout lanes, and drive-up. He has also worked in construction as a painter, working directly with contractors and customers in painting houses and commercial buildings.
Gabriel has big plans for his academic future. He has been a dual-enrolled student at AAEM-EM and EMCC and graduated from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Cadet Academy. Gabriel plans to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he will pursue a double major in Cyber Security and Intelligence and Global Security. He aims to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in cybersecurity and contribute to developing secure and resilient systems that protect individuals, organizations, and society.
In addition to seeking personal growth, Gabriel strongly desires to give back to his family and community. He wants to use his education and expertise to support his parents and siblings, who have sacrificed so much to provide him with educational opportunities. Gabriel aspires to be a role model for others, encouraging them to pursue their educational dreams and demonstrating that anything is possible with hard work and determination. He is also committed to using his education to positively impact the community, particularly immigrant communities, through volunteering, mentoring, and supporting education, cybersecurity awareness, and digital literacy.
Growing up as a child of immigrants has deeply influenced Gabriel’s perspective on education. It has taught him the value of hard work, resilience, and the transformative power of education. He is committed to leveraging his education in Cyber Security and Intelligence and Global Security to improve his life, support his family, and positively impact his community. He is grateful for the opportunities that education has afforded him and is determined to use his education as a tool for positive change. With the support of the Cruzbecas scholarship, he is confident that he can achieve his academic and personal goals and contribute to a better future for himself and those around him.
Gabriela Martinez, a young woman with an unwavering determination and a passion for making a difference, has overcome numerous challenges in her life. Born into a low-income Mexican family, Gabriela faced the hardships of being undocumented as a child, which presented significant obstacles in her pursuit of education, mainly when affording dual enrollment classes in high school.
Despite these challenges, Gabriela remained resilient and focused on her academic goals. She refused to let her status define her or hinder her progress. Determined to excel, she consistently achieved academic excellence, taking the same rigorous AP classes as her peers and working harder to compensate for the lack of support that her legal status denied her.
Gabriela’s older siblings also aspired to attend college but needed help to qualify for financial aid or the necessary resources. Understanding the importance of education and the dream her parents held for their children, Gabriela recognized the need to be the one her parents could rely on in their later years. She embraced the opportunity to fulfill her family’s aspirations and support them, all while pursuing her dreams with the unwavering support of her loved ones.
When envisioning her future, Gabriela sees herself breaking down the barriers that have held her family back. The college has always been within her reach, and she believes she can overcome any challenge with enough effort and perseverance. She was accepted into Arizona State University as a computer science major, a significant step forward toward her goals.
Gabriela’s journey doesn’t end with her accomplishments. Grateful for her support, she is committed to paying it forward and helping others in similar situations. As part of the team for Immigrant Scholarship Hustle by Scholarships A-Z, Gabriela actively assists undocumented students in navigating their post-high school lives and pursuing higher education and financial opportunities. She understands the importance of empowering others and believes that each person she helps brings her closer to her goal of making a positive impact in the lives of those around her.
Despite the risks and challenges of being undocumented, Gabriela refuses to be defined by her status. Instead, she embraces her experiences, allowing them to shape her into the resilient, determined individual she is today. Gabriela understands that her worth extends beyond her citizenship status and believes she has much more to offer the world. She aspires to become something great and hopes for an opportunity to prove herself and demonstrate her capabilities.
Gabriela Martinez comes highly recommended by her counselor, who has witnessed her remarkable dedication to her education. Gabriela’s intelligence, hard work, and commitment to making a difference for herself, her family, and her community set her apart. She has emerged as a mature and vital school community member, always willing to go above and beyond to help others. Her independent learning skills and love for knowledge are evident in her academic achievements and ability to think critically and creatively.
Moreover, Gabriela’s passion for serving others shines through in her desire to pursue a degree in Psychology. As a DACA student and a member of a family of immigrants, she aims to bridge the gap in mental health support within her community. Gabriela recognizes her community’s challenges when seeking assistance and hopes to provide the necessary support and guidance. Additionally, she actively participates in an undocumented youth group, seeking resources for other DACA youth.
Gabriela indulges in various hobbies outside her academic pursuits, such as reading, sewing, and making bracelets. Her passion for creativity extends to her own business, where she shares her handmade jewelry with others.
Debby Suarez is the child of immigrants who grew up surrounded by a family that nurtured her and instilled a deep sense of pride in her Mexican heritage. Her family has profoundly shaped her perspective of success, giving Debby the belief that true wealth is measured by the richness of the relationships she shares with her family.
Debby’s parents made tremendous sacrifices to immigrate to the United States. Their unwavering determination is a great source of inspiration for Debby and she embraces their vision of providing her with a better life and educational opportunities, considering it her responsibility to fulfill their dreams. Debby views education as a birthright, especially for children of immigrants that faced barriers to education in their homeland. As the child of parents who never completed high school, Debby is acutely aware of the limitations on education for people in her community. This awareness drives her to challenge and dismantle this pattern, aspiring to improve her family’s life and the lives of others through education.
During her time at Metro Tech High School, Debby has excelled academically, earning an impressive 3.9 GPA through a challenging course load that includes two years of AP Spanish Culture, Language, and Literature, as well as diverse mix of honors and AP classes. Her commitment to excellence earned her a place on the Dean’s List. Additionally, Debby has demonstrated a passion for learning beyond the classroom, participating in Sports Medicine and Early Childhood Education courses. She has obtained certifications in OSHA, Food Handlers, and CPR.
In May 2022, Debby embarked on a Leadership in Action Internship with St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix. While there, she assumed the role of manager and co-creator of the Summer Learning Program. Debby led a diverse group of over 35 children, teaching them chess and promoting healthy cooking habits. She actively engaged in weekly workshops, expanding her knowledge on emotional intelligence, homelessness, veterans’ disability, trauma healthcare, leadership, and ethics. Dedication to the internship led her to commit 20 hours per week, fostering a sense of community and developing her public speaking skills.
Volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul has played a significant role in Debby’s life, accumulating over 500 service hours. She has tutored children aged 3 to 17, assisting them with their homework. Moreover, she has received training and qualification to register families for the TEFAP government food program, showcasing her dedication to making a difference within her community.
Engaging in extracurricular activities, Debby has taken an active role as the Female Co-Chair of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán. In this capacity, she organized a school celebration for Mexico’s Independence Day and honed her public speaking skills in English and Spanish. She successfully coordinated fundraisers, club meetings, and information sessions, showcasing her creativity in designing posters, flyers, and social media content. Hosting community talks during lunchtime, Debby created a platform for meaningful discussions.
Furthermore, as the President of Educators Rising, Debby has been responsible for documenting meeting minutes and maintaining effective communication among officers, members, and sponsors. Actively participating in Board of Educators Rising meetings, she organized fundraisers for various causes, including Phoenix Children’s Hospital and blood drives in collaboration with Vitalant.
Debby’s educational path aligns with her passion for languages and neuroscience. She intends to major in Neuroscience and pursue a master’s in Communication Disorders, leveraging her bilingual abilities.
Recognizing the stress that new immigrants experience regarding language acquisition and preserving their native language, Debby aspires to utilize her education to support children in her community on their language journey. She envisions herself working for a community-based organization prioritizing equitable care, upliftment, and compassion. Debby firmly believes that her degree and the experiences she accumulates along the way will contribute to the collective liberation of historically oppressed peoples.
Embracing the transformative power of education, Debby wholeheartedly accepts the responsibility of leading the journey toward positive change. Her unwavering commitment to her family, community and creating a more equitable society makes her a remarkable individual poised to make a meaningful impact in neuroscience and communication disorders.