A graduate of Holland High School, Kariana attends the University of Michigan.

Kariana says it wasn’t an option in her family to not dream of college. Her parents have prodded all their children to care about education and achieving. And there were any number of teachers over the years who affirmed what her parents told her — that she was smart and could do whatever she set her mind to doing.

Arriving in the first grade, speaking only Spanish, Kariana moved from ELL (English Language Learner) classes to being the top in her English and Latin classes while still speaking Spanish at home. Her love and skill with languages will undoubtedly serve her well!

During high school Kariana was involved in a number of extra-curricular activities including tennis, National Honor Society, Student Senate and the PALS (Peer Assisted Listener) program.

She highly recommends Holland’s LAUP’s Adalante program though she didn’t get involved with LAUP until her senior year. Kariana says she thought LAUP was only for students struggling with studies. Since school wasn’t difficult for her, she never looked into the program. Then she met a woman affiliated with LAUP who told her about the Adalante program which focuses on building community relationships as well as leadership skills.

She was a part of LAUP for only one year but still she feels she gleaned important lessons from the stories about those who climbed the ladder to a successful and fulfilling life and career.

Kariana also will be receiving another Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland scholarship — the Brooks Family First Generation renewable scholarship.

Celina Flegal, College Advisor at Holland High had this to say about Kariana:

“Kariana Alvarado is a highly intelligent young lady who thrives in diverse, vibrant, and challenging opportunities, always expecting the best out of herself and encouraging the best in those around her. Kariana seems to easily work with people of any race, background, religion, or ability to bring out the best in herself and others.”

Part of the first generation in her family to attend college Kariana will be joining her older sister who is also at the University of Michigan!

Kariana’s Career Goals?

  • Kariana dreams of being a teacher. She’ll major in English at the University of Michigan and then intends to enter their School of Education. She’ll work towards a degree in secondary education for now but dreams of a Ph.D and possibly teaching at a college or university.

What did receiving the Holland/Zeeland Promise Scholarship mean for Kariana?

“Being a recipient helps me continue to believe in myself. Believe that I can do it. Makes me feel a part of this Holland/Zeeland Promise community of students who have faced challenges too — and so I don’t feel as alone.”

Kariana’s advice to other students who dream of college but face financial or other challenges?

“You have to find motivation from family and friends. Take strength from that help. Believe in yourself. Believe you can achieve the goal you set for yourself!”

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