Parents: Jessica Salazar and Sandalio Alaniz
Previous schools attended: Garriga Elementary and Derry Elementary (Port Isabel), Palmer-Laakso Elementary, Los Cuates Middle School.
Class rank: Top 5 Percent
School Organizations: AP Scholar, National Honor Society, Student Council, UIL Poetry, DECA (state qualifier), RGV Lead, Medical Academy, Band (two years)
College: The University of Texas at Austin
Career Plans: Undecided
Inspiration for academic success: My parents and grandparents have inspired me. They all pushed me very hard, but never past my limit. I was always very hard on myself, so whenever I started to go through mentally rough times because of the intense workload, they always found ways to pull me back to Earth and calm myself down. My parents are brilliant, so it would be disappointing if I didn’t push myself as hard as they did, considering they have done so much for me. I aspire to be them. My grandparents raised me for a lot of my life while my parents had to work, and I am eternally grateful for everything they have taught me academically and personally.
Life challenges: I have learned to overcome my stress. Although 24 hours seems like enough time to get everything done, unhealthy patterns are easily formed. Those 24 hours are taken up by eight hours of school, another two hours of extracurriculars, and homework in your backpack to do at home due the next day. When you are engulfed in school life, something always gives. Whether it is healthy eating patterns, sleeping patterns, or mental well-being, something will give. We aren’t robots. I now understand that there is more to life than pushing yourself past your limits. I now take breaks when I need them. You can always finish your assignment later; you can’t get the hours to eat and sleep back.
Importance of participation: I have been so lucky to have been in so many school activities, but RGV Lead has truly taught me so many skills that I need in everyday life. Networking and meeting new people to find new opportunities has been the most important ability I have acquired. This past summer, I used the information that I was taught about leadership to get hired at my first job. If I hadn’t been part of this amazing organization, I would have been very confused and nervous, walking into my first interview.
Balance of academics and school activities: Sleep has to be the most important part of balancing everything. It is simple: you truly cannot get your work done if you don’t have enough time to rest your body. I need to recharge before I do an assignment, so I balance my school activities and strong academic ethic by taking the nap I need when I’m tired.
Career goals: I want to be able to earn money to give back to people who need it. I have seen many rich people who are consumed by greed and hunger for power. Capitalism has grown to be something I despise, but it is what makes our world keep going. I want to give as many people as possible opportunities to make better lives for themselves and their families. I don’t want people to worry if their children will have a place to sleep tomorrow or food to eat tonight. Not everyone can work, and I understand that everyone has issues. That’s why I want to go into the business pathway. I want to let the less fortunate people know that they aren’t forgotten.