A 2013 Holland High School alumna, Diana graduated from Hope College where she majored in Spanish and minored in Psychology.
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 the Adalante program at Latin Americans United for Progress which teaches students leadership skills, public speaking and encourages them to be community service leaders as well.
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 advice to high school students?
“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