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Youth Spotlight: Alessandra Medrano, a scholar with extraordinary character.

Updated: Apr 30

Alessandra Medrano, a senior at Eagle Valley High School, is a student to remember. She is an extremely courteous, thoughtful, and a kind young person. Alessandra exemplifies what it means to be a role model: she works hard in school and dedicates time to go above and beyond expectations; she commits fully to her extracurricular programs and prioritizes her time to attend all aspects of them; she engages with other participants in programs, checks in on how they’re doing, supports them through challenges and is eager to see them be successful; she is devoted to her family, supporting her mom and grandparents around the house, traveling and connecting meaningfully with her heritage.

During high school, Alessandra’s been involved with CMC Upward Bound, The Cycle Effect, P-TECH and environmental awareness projects, and has been a volunteer soccer coach. In middle school, Alessandra also participated in 4-H, in the sewing club. Alessandra attributes her development of kindness and perseverance to her time in The Cycle Effect. During a recent race, before it was her time to go, Alessandra decided to join the coaches in cheering on other bicyclists and rode in the back of a different race to encourage girls struggling the most. Alessandra shares, “I really enjoyed being there for the girls on my team. It reminded me of how much I loved and appreciated the support that my team gives to me. Actually, by watching them try their best during a race, and push themselves to their limits, it also empowered me to do the same once it was my turn. Through this program, I learned about the importance of perseverance and how pushing yourself is a lot better than just letting life pass you by and not taking chances.”

The Cycle Effect has helped Alessandra push through negative self-talk and mental blocks and build her confidence and self-esteem; experiences she’s had in the program have given her the courage and awareness to tackle the “metaphorical mountains” in her life.

This level of support for others has also encouraged Alessandra to become a volunteer soccer coach for elementary and preschool aged youth. She coached for a month in October and met every Wednesday to teach them the basics of playing soccer, building community skills, and learn how to work as a team. Since they were so young, the most essential thing they could learn was teamwork to help them continue to play soccer. In all these activities, Alessandra is mindful of her commitments and time, and is cognizant not to overschedule herself to make sure she is present and fully participating in what she commits to. 

Alessandra lives with her mom, who is a single mother, and for the last couple of summers has been visiting and connecting with family in Mexico. It’s been helpful to see where the rest of her family lives since they don’t have a lot of family here. She's enjoyed being able to learn more about her culture and where she comes from. During her sophomore summer, Alessandra went to Mexico City and went to a museum to learn more about Mexican history, and did tours to learn about the Aztec and the people who currently live there. She finds it helpful to talk with family and become more proficient in Spanish. This year, Alessandra and her mom went to Mexico for Día de los Muertos, and went to a town that’s known for its big celebration where the youth were nicely dressed with make-up and there was dancing and an art exhibit of varying celebrations across Mexico. It was amazing for her to see how the country celebrates this day differently across the different regions. The day is focused on celebrating life, the loved ones who have gone and the Mexican heritage. 

Alessandra has also been a part of the Upward Bound program since 2021, a college readiness program through Colorado Mountain College. Through the program, her biggest take away has been the college tours. They’ve been very helpful in figuring out her next phase in life, and she has really benefited from the tutoring and college application process support provided by the program. Since her mom did not go to college, it’s been helpful to work with the staff in filling out applications, practicing for interviews, and learning which questions she should be asking to make college decisions. “Alessandra is an observant young woman, who is cognizant of the fact that how she engages with and treats other people really matters. As a result, she is welcoming, encouraging, and positive whenever she is around her classmates and whenever she is in Upward Bound activities,” shares Suzanne Kirch, Upward Bound Coordinator.

After high school, Alessandra plans to attend Fort Lewis College and pursue a career in Environmental Science and Sustainability. She was introduced to environmental sustainability through her high school P-TECH class and has since had a growing passion for it. P-TECH is a program that helps students get an associates in environmental science and connect to internships with sustainable companies throughout the valley. She has brought some practices into her home, recycling and composting more, and seeks to learn more new concepts and continue to grow her passion. “I want to work in a career that allows me to help others and the environment,” shares Alessandra. After college, Alessandra envisions living in Mexico for a couple of years to be closer to family there as well as apply her college education to help with Mexico’s conservation and sustainability programs. She has great ambitions and after all these experiences hopes to return to the community and work for a company promoting sustainable practices. Whatever Alessandra pursues in life, all who know her and have worked with her are confident she will be successful and create a lasting positive impact on the world.

-Mikayla Curtis, Director of Strategic Impact

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