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Meet Jimena, SLI scholar and future congresswoman

WINCHESTER, VA – SLI scholar Jimena graduated from John Handley High School in 2023 with plans to attend Dickinson College.

How does it feel to be finished with high school and about to go to college?

Graduating from high school was a surreal experience for me, especially since I was the first in my family to accomplish this achievement. While I’ll miss my parents and sisters, I am excited to start college as summer comes to an end.

Are there particular people who have helped you reach this achievement and encouraged you to go to college?

My graduation was possible not only because of my personal efforts and commitment, but also thanks to my parents’ unwavering support. They backed me up in every decision I made for my education, and their encouragement is one of the driving forces behind my desire to attend college. My goal is to receive a superior education compared to what my parents were able to obtain in Mexico. They have given me a better life, and I aspire to make the most of this opportunity so that one day I can repay them with the life they truly deserve.

What do you plan to study at Dickinson College? Do you have a career in mind?

I plan to study political science. I’m almost 98% certain I want to become a congresswoman, but I’m still deciding what career path I will take in the future. 

How did you reach that career idea?

As a member of the John Handley High School Speech & Debate Team for three years, I participated in mock congressional debates in different leagues. While researching for these competitions, I learned about problems in the United States that adversely affect minority groups, including unequal access to healthcare and human rights violations. This led me to develop a passion for advocating for these individuals who often feel voiceless and ignored. I want to be their voice, and I believe that becoming one of the few Latinas in Congress could help bring about the necessary change to support them.

What have been some highlights of your high school years?

Throughout my high school years I had the privilege of being a part of Latinos Unidos, a club that celebrates Hispanic culture. In fact, it was one of the most memorable highlights of my high school experience. I was a member of this club for four years and held leadership positions for three of them. Being part of this club helped me to embrace my identity as a Latina and allowed me to be myself without fear of judgment. I owe this to the support of my cosponsors, Mrs. Escalante and Mrs. Espinoza, who also served as SLI program directors. One event that stands out in my mind was the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month during the fall of 2022, which involved trivia, an assembly filled with music, dance, poems, and singers, and a community party. The traditions and values upheld in a Hispanic family are reflected in this club, and I am proud to have been a part of it. It feels like a second family to me, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have contributed to it in any way I could.

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