Graduating from high school as a first-generation Latina student is an impressive accomplishment. In a year like 2020, we want to extend the biggest congratulations to Ashantty, and the rest of our graduating seniors who are headed off to college or into the workforce. As members of our YA! Program, these seniors have persisted through tough times to succeed and reach their goals, and we are so happy to have been able to assist them on their journey’s.
The YA! Program at CLUES is comprised of many exemplary students seeking to accomplish their goals in high school and beyond. Ashantty was a committed member while in high school and has since graduated and begun her adventure at St. Catherine’s University. In her responses, Ashantty highlights how YA! provided her with the opportunity to visit and stay at St. Catherine’s before attending college to better prepare her for the transition ahead. This, along with other speaker events, served as opportunities that helped her develop her confidence as a woman. Additionally, like many other graduating seniors, Ashantty commented that YA! greatly helped figure out the FAFSA process so that the financial burden of college was made manageable in turn making college more accessible.
Ashantty prides herself on being the first in her family to attend University where she will be studying to be NICU Nurse and psychologist. Her passion lies in helping others, and she sees this as the perfect way to serve her community with a focus on mental and physical health. Further, Ashantty wishes to fight the negative stigma she believes the Latino community receives, and she hopes to be an example of the greatness that Latinos can attain. We know Ashantty is already an example of greatness and are thrilled to see what she will accomplish next!
Please read on to hear more from Ashantty herself on what her path after graduation looks like and visit CLUES YA! Website for more information and connect with us on social media to stay updated about upcoming stories. (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube)
The YA! Program and my mentor prepared me well for life after high school. There were many activities we had to do regarding college and the FAFSA process. What prepared me lots was the goal setting. Every time we did them, we had to specify them and that way I could do them and mark it off of my list after I accomplished it. After that I’d write a new goal to aim for. That’s what got me well prepared in my opinion.
COVID-19 didn’t exactly ruin my education, but it made me miss out on the rest of my senior experiences like prom and the rest of my face-to-face classes. The YA! Program supported me well during this time by providing food and de-stressing me from this whole chaos by providing me resources and workshops to keep busy.
The activities that impacted me most were guest speakers who would come in and talk to us about a topic and motivate us to join or help. Another that I loved was an On-Campus experience at St. Catherine University where I got to stay overnight and learn about college readiness and life. During my camp stay at St. Catherine I met new people and got to strengthen myself as a woman in many new ways. These were the types of opportunities that the YA! program helped me find out about and would apply for. All the other activities were about colleges and talking about the FAFSA process which was confusing at the time, but because of YA! I understand all these things better and the process was less stressful for me in the long run.
I have learned a lot about college, confidence, myself, and much more during my YA! journey. Most importantly, I have learned that I want to help people in need and that I can do anything I want to as long as I am set on doing it correctly.
One moment I was very proud of was when I got accepted into St. Catherine University and that I got my moment to shine at a Zoom conference regarding that. Another great accomplishment for me was finally graduating from high school!
I think programs like YA! are important since they help Latino youth with anything they are going through whether it is high school, college, or life in general. I believe that programs like these help raise great awareness about Latinos and how together, we can accomplish the maximum level of greatness instead of the constant negative image society has about the Latino community.
I have quite the message for younger Latino students. First, find out what you want to do in life during high school so that when you’re at your Senior year you don’t worry about filling out applications for colleges regarding the majors and minors they have. Second, please pay attention to your mental health because that has a huge role on your future. Third, always (and I mean everyday) check your email!!! It’s overwhelming when you don’t check it for a while. Fourth, try your best to save money and fill out scholarships for college. Fifth, always follow your heart.
It means a lot for me and my family to finally graduate from high school. The greater meaning behind it is the life that one must start after high school and what the next step will be (adulting most of the time) as the first generation in the family gets to go to college and beyond.
There are many things that are next for me but mainly to focus on me and what to get ready for in the fall of 2020 (aka St. Catherine University!) as a future NICU Nurse and psychologist.