Student Spotlight: Denise Zavala

"COVID-19 has made me reflect on how important it is to live in the moment. I’ve learned to appreciate every hug, handshake, and social interaction and acknowledge the power of such heartwarming moments. I enjoy leaving a positive outlook on life. I truly believe that my purpose in life is to inspire others through art and optimism. During this crisis, I’ve taken advantage of this time to use my social media channels to inspire others, commit to participating in online community service work, and leave encouraging letters outside of my neighbors’ homes to remain connected with the community. Although COVID-19 has brought challenges, I'm learning to look for positive ways to cope with such unprecedented times.

 

However, I'm concerned about my college tuition. Before COVID-19, my family was still enduring great financial challenges with the inconsistency of my father’s job. Now that we are in the middle of this crisis, our situation has worsened, but I have faith that we will get back on track.

 

EMERGE has expanded my horizon of college possibilities and supported me both financially and emotionally. EMERGE has also helped me realize that the idea of attending an ivy league school isn't out of my reach. Through EMERGE, I've been enlightened by various resources and experiences of former students that have encouraged me along the way.

 

During this pandemic, I've found gratitude from the simple aspects of life such as family, time, nature, and life-lessons. Through the challenges, my family remains the same cohesive and faithful bunch. I'm taking advantage of this time to: write a book, finish songs I've never had the time to complete, work out, read books, practice my guitar, sing, study for the SAT, and cook healthy food. Although COVID-19 has the potential to deteriorate our attitudes, we also have so much to love and be grateful for.

 

Mentality marks the difference between a productive, positive day and a hopeless, insignificant day. I am immensely thankful for every single moment and a new day to love."

 

Denise is currently a rising junior at Sterling High School in Houston ISD and aspires to attend her dream school, Harvard University. She is interested in majoring in either business, psychology, or music.