Two District of San Francisco New Orleans (SFNO) students from San Miguel High School in Tucson, Arizona were featured speakers at separate public events held in conjunction with Catholic Schools Week 2019.
On January 31, senior David Amerson addressed an estimated crowd of 1,000 attendees gathered at the State Capitol House Lawn for the Diocese of Phoenix’s Catholic Schools Rally.
The following evening, junior Jennifer Cuevas was the student speaker at the Arizona’s Catholic Tuition Support Organization (CTSO) 20th Anniversary Dinner benefiting Catholic education, held at the J.W. Marriott Star Pass Resort in Tucson.
Numerous area Catholic school students and teachers and area Church and civic dignitaries attended the events, including Diocese of Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger.
Both Jennifer and David serve as Student Ambassadors at San Miguel. The Student Ambassadors Program selects students to represent San Miguel and increase public awareness and engagement of the school within the Tucson community.
David spoke on his involvement in school clubs and organizations, and on the role that the Catholic education he has received at San Miguel has played in setting the stage for his future.
“After I graduate this May, I will have a wide range of colleges to choose from,” David said. “I have applied to 25 colleges and universities and have been accepted to 9. I also have received merit scholarships from each one. I want to thank my parents and San Miguel’s Catholic education for shaping me into the young man I am now.”
Jennifer’s remarks a day later gave similar testimony to her San Miguel experience and expressed the special reasons behind her appreciation for the opportunities afforded to her by Lasallian Catholic education.
“I will be,” Jennifer told her audience, “the first in my family to go to college, and I want to set an example for my younger brother who just started high school. As a Latina, I am determined to get far in life and make those around me proud. I will continue making smart choices so that I can go to college, study, and then travel the world.”
Both students singled out the SFNO – Cristo Rey Network partnership and the state of Arizona’s tax credits program as opening doors to possibilities that otherwise may have remained closed to them. David observed, “What sets our school apart is the Corporate Work Study Program, where every student has a job in the Tucson area…and the money they earn goes towards our tuition, making a Catholic, Lasallian, and college preparatory education available for anybody who wants to prosper.” And Jennifer stated, “Because of people here in Arizona who recommended their tax dollars, students like me can have an outstanding Catholic education that will change their life and make sure they are college and career ready.”
Every year, Catholic School Week celebrates, “the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to Church, local communities and the nation.” Through their words, Jennifer and David gave witness to the impact of the Lasallian mission to serve and accompany the young, especially those in most need, in their journey to bright, faith-filled futures. As Jennifer said at the end of her presentation, “I know it will not be easy. I will have lots of obstacles. However, I know I have the support and skills to conquer the barriers in order to get to my destination. Like Walt Disney once said, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’”
All photos and portions of this story contributed by Paloma Lopez-Santiago, Vice President of Advancement, San Miguel High School, Tucson, AZ.