2019 United Way Annual Report - Page 37

A senior at Lead Academy
High School, Jaquelin’s
wisdom and spirit span well
beyond her years.
When she’s not studying to maintain her
3.9 grade point average, she’s writing to her
senators, lobbying for tuition equality and
marching for immigrant rights. She even recently
landed a perfect score on the ACT’s reading
section, despite English being her second
Jaquelin and her family came to the U.S. from
Mexico in search of a better life when she was
just two years old. She’s a DACA (Deferred Action
for Childhood Arrivals) recipient and uses her
perspective and platform to be a strong advocate
for her peers and for the Latino community at
large, a voice she’s honing through the Oasis
Center’s International Teen Outreach Program
(ITOP) at her school.
“It’s not just my obligations to my family or my
obligations to myself,” Jaquelin says. “I have an
obligation to my community.”
Jaquelin joined ITOP when it began at Lead
Academy almost two years ago. The program
gives teens like Jaquelin the space to explore
their identity and build friendships with other
like-minded young people. It’s a community for
teens who want to create real, positive change
in Nashville. As part of our efforts to create a
healthier Nashville, programs like ITOP are
bringing people together to make connections
and build strong, supportive communities.
Since joining, Jaquelin has naturally emerged as
a leader among her peers.
“She’s always stuck out as an incredibly strong
student,” says ITOP specialist Hannah Beath.
“And as someone that people want to rally
behind because she is so strong and empathetic
and smart and just a very innate sort of leader.”
Hannah recently read another student’s
scholarship application where the prompt was
to write about someone who inspired them. This
particular student wrote about Jaquelin.
“She wrote about Jackie’s kindness and she kind
of showed her what other people were going
through,” Hannah says. “I think a lot of people—
especially teenagers—go through life with a
very kind of narrow focus and don’t always
understand or have the capacity to understand
what someone else is going through. But for
PAG E 35

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