Shirley will graduate from Fox Tech Law and Health Professions High School with a host of valuable extracurricular and volunteer experiences. In the fall, she plans to attend George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., where she plans to major in pre-med and minor in philosophy and law.
Among her great achievements to date are internships for state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. These positions provided a strong professional network, allowed her to hone her communication skills and gave her opportunities to build her work ethic. Shirley plans to return to Washington, D.C., this summer to intern for HUD, for the third year in a row.
Shirley was recognized as Outstanding Junior in 2011 and has been involved in numerous extracurricular activities during her high school years. Among them are mariachi, SkillsUSA (vice president), Political Thinkers (vice president), Mock Trial (lead attorney), Varsity Tennis, National Honor Society (vice president), Student Council (sergeant-at-arms), Gamma Sigma Girls (vice president), Bexar County Sheriff’s Explorer Program, GEAR UP Leadership Team, Student Government and Youth Against Gang Activity.
Shirley feels that her seven years as a member of the mariachi group – she played violin – prepared her well for college. The program taught her discipline, leadership and communication skills.
Outside of school, some of her volunteer activities included National Night Out, in 2009, Bexar County Sheriff’s Department annual Toy Drive, 2009-2011, Special Olympics Bowling 2011-2012, the Jimenez Dinner 2010, the Food Bank 2010, Habitat for Humanity 2011-2012 and GEAR UP Student Leadership Service Learning Project, among others.
Shirley feels the GEAR UP college-readiness program has truly been a blessing in disguise, introducing her to the true meaning of the phrase “never give up.” The program showed her that anything is possible if you just believe in yourself and work hard. During the college process, Shirley worked closely with her GEAR UP adviser, who helped her every step of the way, from editing her college essays to providing emotional support.
She hopes to make a difference by inspiring young children and adults from all over the world to hunger for a better future.