Diana has “walked” to received her diploma from Hope College, needing only one last general education class this summer to be fully graduated! Along the way Diana faced some obstacles — but she didn’t give up! With her major in Spanish and a minor in psychology we’re excited to see what opportunities open up for Diana.

Congratulations Diana! But let’s remember your story one more time:

Diana is a 2013 graduate of Holland High School heading full time in the fall of 2013 to Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Diana came to the United States from Mexico when she was 12. Her biological father died when she was only a year old and some years later, relatives and friends introduced Diana’s mother to a man from Holland, MI. They married and she and Diana joined him in Holland two months before the end of Diana’s 6th grade school year.

The principal of Holland’s West Middle School and Diana’s parents felt it would best if she was enrolled in school, even for just two months — though she didn’t speak a word of English. Diana said, “Most people were sure I’d have to repeat the 6th grade.”

She didn’t have to do that. Her new stepbrother gave her a crash course in English that first summer, teaching her grammar and requiring her to watch “three television shows a day!”

Diana initially participated in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, but quickly exited those, able to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses and even branch out into a third language — French!

Diana participated in Hope College’s Trio Upward Bound and Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP). Beginning in her junior year, she also participated in LAUP’s Adalante program which teaches students leadership skills, public speaking and encourages them to be community service leaders as well.

Though she begins Hope College full time in the fall of 2013, Diana began taking a few courses this summer participating in Hope’s Bridge Program. This is a support program offered to High School seniors through Hope’s Trio Upward Bound.

Elizabeth Colburn, Director of Trio Upward Bound had this to say about Diana:

“Diana’s level of personal responsibility and perseverance was what kept her focused on preparing for college. Now fluent in two languages, she has developed leadership skills and responds enthusiastically to new learning opportunities. She has learned strategies that will help her continue to achieve academically.”

Diana’s area of interest? An internship in Hope College’s REACH (Research Experience Across Cultures at Hope) program, along with biology classes in high school, sparked her interest in the sciences.

Her goals at Hope and beyond?

  • To major in Spanish and minor in the new American Ethnic Diversity.
  • To be open to working with people in areas of social justice.

However to cover other personal expenses, Diana plans to participate in a Work/Study program — tutoring students now participating in the same program she did, Trio Upward Bound.

Diana’s advice to other students dreaming of a college education:

“Don’t give up. It takes determination, time and effort. There will be times when an obstacle may seem impossible to overcome, but anything is possible. And don’t get too stressed. Manage your time, have a hobby, something that can help you relax. I began to write songs!”

To learn more about the Holland/Zeeland Promise Scholarship, visit www.cfhz.org/hzpromise