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Dear Class of 2020, 

These past seven years with you have flown by and I have indeed enjoyed the transformation that I have witnessed in each of you. You have learned to advocate for yourself and others, you have shared your voice through debates and poetry, and you have developed into compassionate leaders and into women of action and integrity.

You have heard me say many times that if we teach you to think critically, but fail to develop your character, then we have failed. Based on the leadership roles and decisions that you have made within our YWLA community and our greater San Antonio community, I know your success is our success.

Thank you for pushing us to be innovative in our delivery of instruction, for challenging us to reflect on our systems, and for sharing the goodness in each of you. I trust that you will lead our city and national governments soon; that you will contribute to scientific research; and that you will continue to find your passion as you navigate your path. Remember to watch your thoughts, words, and actions; they define your habits, character, and destiny. You are ready to take your next steps and we are ready to see our Cardinals Take Flight!

With profound respect and best wishes,

Delia McLerran – YWLA Head of Schools


Congratulations to the Young Women's Leadership Academy

Class of 2020!


Jewel Medel

There is a theory that humans are either right-brained or left-brained, meaning that one side of their brain is dominant. Left-brainers are said to be analytical and methodical in their thinking, while right-brainers tend to be more creative or artistic. Jewel Medel, Young Women’s Leadership Academy’ Class of 2020 valedictorian, isn’t either left- or right-brained – she is a balance of both. 

Jewel will be attending Brown University, an Ivy League institution, in the fall where she plans to double major in neuroscience and English. She has wanted to study neuroscience since the fifth grade when she discovered the field watching The Big Bang Theory.

“I was really interested that she [actress Mayim Bialik] could follow her passion of acting while also being this accomplished scientist,” she said. “Writing has always been a passion of mine, so why can’t I do both? I am going to combine the two.”

Jewel says she thinks it is very important that women are involved in science because as an underrepresented community and as half the world population, women deserve to be in a position where they can explore their intellectual curiosity. 

“That has been denied to women for centuries,” she said. “So seeing women today being passionate about STEM careers, technology and computer science is very endearing to me.” 

Jewel believes that Young Women’s Leadership Academy has prepared for her for her future. Though most YWLA students enter the school in middle school, Jewel joined as a freshman. She said at first she felt like an outsider, but she was quickly welcomed and began to feel like a part of a family at YWLA.

“Every day I was surrounded by supportive young women, supportive teachers and administrators; it was just really a welcoming community I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else,” she said.  “I know that the teachers are there for us to succeed. Knowing that they were there supporting me every step of the way, I knew I couldn’t let them down and couldn’t let myself down. I know I am going to be someone who is going to go far and beyond.”

At YWLA, Jewel not only threw herself into academics, she also threw herself into extracurriculars. She plays volleyball, basketball and track and says those sports taught her something that she couldn’t learn in the classroom – mental toughness. 

“It’s about being tough in the face of defeat,” she said. “Knowing that we aren’t the best team out there, or the most athletic, but never looking down or feeling defeated because I know I gave my best is something very valuable for students to learn.”

In addition to sports, Jewel is a member of the Young Poets Society, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, National English National Honor Society, and vice president of the Science National Honor Society.

Jewel says she believes she is going to be successful at Brown because of the college’s open curriculum policy. Brown doesn’t have a core curriculum, letting the students decide which classes to take based on their major and interest. 

“For example, if I don’t have to take a history class every four years if I don’t want to,” said Jewel. “I am going to be successful because I am going to choose my own path as a student and choose what classes and professors I want to take. I will be forging my own education in that way.” 

Jewel will miss her family when she heads off to the northeast in the fall, but she is looking forward to her next adventure.

“I am excited to leave behind the heat of Texas,” she said. “But I am just really excited for this opportunity. First-generation college students like me coming from low-income homes don’t always have the chance to attend such prestigious universities like this. I am so blessed to have Brown see something in me and want them to have me as part of their campus."

See valedictorian Jewel featured on KSAT 12 Good Morning SA!

See salutatorian Maria Garcia-Garcia featured on 

Senior Class Officers

Mia Mendez - President
Carissa Cortez - Vice President
Hannah Mathews - Secretary
Skyler Williams - Treasurer
Devyn Moore - Historian
Sophia Thompson-Arispe - Community Service Chair
Eugenia Rodriguez - Fundraiser Coordinator
Zoe Hinojosa - Spirit Chair

Class Motto
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

-Eleonor Roosevelt

School Colors
Navy, Red, White

School Mascot 

YWLA Pledge
I challenge you to watch your thoughts, they become your words
Watch your words, they become your actions
Watch your actions, they become your habits
Watch your habits, they become your character
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Class Song
“I’ll Be There For You”
by the Rembrandts

Young Women's Leadership Academy
Class of 2020


Valedictorian Jewel Medel


Salutatorian Maria Garcia-Garcia

YWLA 2020 Top Graduates (Summa Cum Laude)

 Alizon Crisanto, Trinity University
Catalina Delgado, University of Texas-Austin
Maria Garcia-Garcia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Jewel Medel, Brown University 
Mia Mendez, University of Southern California

YWLA 2020 Top Graduates (Magna Cum Laude)

 Lorna Abundis, Loyola University - Chicago
Abigail Baustista, Texas Tech University
Malerie Berlanga, University of Texas - Austin
Lucia Conchas, University of Texas - Austin
Carissa Cortez, University of Texas - Austin
Claudia Guillot-Wallace, Mount Holyoke College
Melanie Harrell, University of Rochester
Selina Hernandez, University of Texas - Austin
Emily La Rosa, University of Texas San Antonio
Jazlyn Mata, St. Mary’s University
Hannah Mathews, Penn State University
Devyn Moore, Smith College
Isabel Orozco, Texas State University 
Erica Perez, Texas A&M – College Station
Thalia Revilla, Stanford University
Lola Sanchez, Loyola University – New Orleans
Isis Schmidt, University of North Texas
Sophia Thompson-Arispe, University of New Mexico
Emily Trevino, Texas State University 
Sierra Vargas, Trinity University
Lexia Vasquez, University of North Texas
Leah Villanueva, Texas State University
Skyler Williams, University of Texas - Austin


YWLA 2020 Top Graduates (Cum Laude)

Alondra Alonzo, San Antonio College
Analisa Ayala, Texas Lutheran University
Jada Bernal, San Antonio College
Yarima Cortinas, University of Texas - San Antonio
Cynthia De Leon, San Antonio College
Lianna Flores, Texas State University
Abigail Garcia, University of Texas - Austin
Isabella Garcia, Mills College
Zoe Hinojosa, University of Texas
Priscila Lumbreras, University of Texas San Antonio
Megan Medellin, University of Incarnate Word
Dominque Mejia, Texas A&M – San Antonio
Belena Pena, Texas State University
Gabriela Ramirez, University of North Texas
Eugenia Rodriguez, University of the Incarnate Word
Felicity Rodriguez, University of North Texas
Solei Salazar, Texas State University
Anjelique Sanchez, Texas State University


Graduation Candidates

Lorna Abundis
Alondra Ruby Alonzo
Sierra Araiza
Analisa Marie Ayala
Abigail Marie Bautista
Malerie Berlanga
Jada Nikol Bernal
Lucia Conchas
Carissa Cortez
Yarima Cortinas
Alizon Darina Crisanto Bernardez
Cynthia Maria De Leon
Catalina Filomena Delgado
Lianna Maria Flores
Abigail Elise Garcia
Isabella Marie Garcia
Maria Guadalupe Garcia-Garcia
Claudia Guillot-Wallace
Melanie Elizabeth Harrell
Selina Hernandez
Zoe Diane Hinojosa
Emily La Rosa
Priscila Lumbreras
Jazlyn K. Mata
Hannah Katherine Mathews
Jewel Nicole Medel
Megan Nicole Medellin
Dominique Mejia
Mia Renee Mendez
Devyn Julianna Moore
Mya Renee Moreno
Isabel Luisa Orozco
Belena Marie Pena
Erica Natalie Perez
Gabriela Tomasa Ramirez
Thalia Rae Revilla
Eugenia Rodriguez
Felicity Monique Rodriguez
Solei Chaurie Salazar
Miranda Yvette Salazar
Lola Isabella Sanchez
Anjelique N. Sanchez
Isis Dominga Rayos Schmidt
Sophia Louise Thompson-Arispe
Emily Lucianne Trevino
Sierra Nadine Vargas
Lexia Maree Vasquez
Leah Michal Villanueva
Skyler Williams



San Antonio Independent School District

Board Of Trustees

Patti Radle............President

Arthur V. Valdez.............Vice President

Debra Guerrero............Secretary

Steve Lecholop............Trustee

Alicia Perry............Trustee

Christina Martinez............Trustee

Ed Garza............Trustee

Superintendent of Schools

Pedro Martinez

Chief Academic Officer  ~ Office of Academics

Patricia Salzmann

Assistant Superintendent Innovation Schools

Angelica Romero

Young Women's Leadership Academy Head of Schools

Delia McLerran 

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