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Seven San Luis students earn scholarships for work on autoethnography project

Velasquez, Dillard, VillaDuring the 2021-22 school year, San Luis High School and South Mountain Community College partnered with KnowledgeWorks, an education nonprofit organization, to support the Arizona Youth Autoethnography Storytelling Project. 


Seven SLHS students earned $1,000 scholarships for their work. The purpose of the project was to provide a writing opportunity for students and a place for them to share their insights and experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


“This scholarship honestly means a lot to me because I know that school is really expensive and I just want to help my parents a little bit with scholarships so they don't have to pay for everything,” SLHS scholarship recipient, Angeline Velasquez said. “I chose to share my story because I wanted others to hear about my experiences and I know other people want to share their stories as well so I told myself this year I was going to speak up.”


Annette Elias, a teacher at SLHS in 2021-22, worked with Marilyn Torres from South Mountain Community College to help students create and share their stories. SLHS had seven students who wanted to have their stories published and shared with the public. KnowledgeWorks, in return, was able to provide each one of the seven students a $1,000 scholarship to continue their education. 


On Aug. 10, 2022, Velasquez and Felipe Villa, two of the scholarship recipients, presented to the Yuma Union High School District Governing Board about their experience with the project and sharing their stories, along with their guidance counselor, Maria Dillard.


"I am very proud of Angeline and Felipe, they both have much potential, talent, and a bright future ahead of them," Dillard said. 


For Villa, the future is not just about him, but inspiring others as well.   


“I wanted other people to listen to my story and to not give up and just try again and again until they get there,” Villa said. 


Here are all of the students who participated in the project at San Luis High School and their year in school as of 2022-23: 

Francisco Bojorquez (junior), Maria Bustamante (senior), Hassen Cortez (senior), Ivan Estrada (senior), Melanny Ortiz (junior), Angeline Velazquez (junior), Felipe Villa (senior).

Lesley Avila