Diana is a 2015 graduate of Holland High School and has been accepted at Western Michigan University, fall 2015.

When Diana was a freshman in high school, she took a class called Working on Wellness. Her teacher, Mrs. Miller, told her own personal story about the challenges she had to overcome in order to attend college. That was the first time it occurred to Diana that such a dream might be possible for her too, despite the obstacles she feared were insurmountable.

Though neither of Diana’s parents had attended college, as she began to speak of her dream her mother encouraged her, saying a college education would help Diana be financially independent. An important goal for women.

Other teachers at her high school kept encouraging her too. Mr. Sissing told her “you can do anything you want to do!” and Mr. Ceithami kept pointing out her strengths and skills, giving her confidence.

It was those very obvious skills that let to Diana’s participation on the Holland Youth Advisory Council where she as part of the Council’s Human Relations Committee. Formed in 2003 the goal of HYAC is to provide the City Council of Holland with input from resident youths. In addition to helping develop leadership skills, the Council also promotes and encourages youth participation in city government and community service.

Diana was also was active in PAL — Peer Assistance & Listening. Voted in by her peers as well as her teachers to be part of this program, Diana took a semester long training, which enabled her to be a PAL for students across the spectrum from elementary school through high school — wherever she might be needed.

Mr. Raul Jimenez, on of Diana’s counselors at Holland High had this to say about her:

“Diana epitomizes the go-getter. When she sets a goal for herself, she goes above and beyond it, coming up with the action items necessary in order to achieve it. What is remarkable about this, however, is that the driving force behind Diana’s actions is a genuinely selfless desire to create positive change for the communities she is a part of. She will be a positive change agent for the communities she represents including the voice of Latina women in American politics.”

Diana’s goals? She hasn’t decided yet what her major will be. But because of her work with HYAC she’s drawn to:

  • Careers that involve social justice and politics — perhaps requiring a law degree
  • Communications and languages.

What does the Holland/ Zeeland Promise mean to Diana?

“I was so surprised and so excited when my name was announced at the honors convocation! I don’t know if I could have gone to college without this scholarship. I have several other scholarships but some of them are only for one year. So I was only sure of going the first year, and would have had to try to save enough money to go another year, hoping each year I had enough for one more year.”

Diana’s advice for other students who dream of continuing their education:

“Take it one step at a time. One hurdle at a time. Don’t look beyond the one in front of you. Make it over that one. And never give up.”

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