Nominated by Regina English
“Marina is the Y.E.S. M.A.A.M. Scholarship Queen and she is a high honor student. Her GPA is 4.3 and she has been a phenomenal mentor for our younger ladies in the program. Marina has put in numerous hours of community service including toy drives and volunteering with various organizations in collaboration with YES M.A.A.M. 2019-20.
She attends Widefield High School where she is in the marching band. I am honored to have a phenomenal young lady like her in my program setting the tone for other young ladies that will come after her. Marina is a senior and plans to attend college and so much more.”
My Black Colorado Interview
What school do you attend and what year are you in?
I attend Widefield High School and I am a senior.
What do you think others would say that they like the most about you? explain why.
I think others would say that they like my positive energy the most about me because I have always been taught to be kind and considerate of others. I am a person who doesn’t like to bring others down. I have had friends thank me for just being there for them and not being a person who is negative and downgrading. Personally, I enjoy seeing others happy and well, so I do my best to bring kindness to those around me.
When you are not in a class, what are the things you enjoy being involved with? explain why.
When I’m not in class I enjoy doing community work and expressing my culture through dancing. One act of kindness is something I try to stand by every day. I have been taught to give back to my community, by feeding the homeless, donating clothes to those in need, and dancing. Every year my mom’s dancing group dances for those who have served our country, our elders, and for the younger community. Sometimes I do so much at school that it seems like I don’t do anything for free time. But whenever I’m driving from a place and I see a homeless person I do try to buy them some food. Occasionally during the winter, I go with my mom to pass out warm clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, and food for those struggling. In general, I just like helping people because I’m aware that I’m blessed and I need to take the opportunity to help those who are less fortunate than me.
What is the best advice someone has given you recently?
The best advice I have been given is to strive to do and achieve more and more great things that many of my ancestors were unable to achieve. My mom and dad helped me acknowledge that I’m blessed with the chance to get a high education and job. It’s clear many minorities have fewer opportunities than others, but more opportunities than the ones who came before them. My parents helped me realize that once I have reached a goal, I can’t just stop there – I have to keep trying and pushing to accomplish more and more. Sometimes I set a low standard for myself and when I achieve that standard, I put in the towel. I have learned many people before me didn’t have a chance to go to school and become lawyers, engineers, and doctors, but I have the chance. I have learned to reach for the “impossible” and things that seem far from me. A mentor of mine named Mrs. Regina empowered and influenced me because I see her achieve all these amazing things she has set out for herself. Not once has she stopped. Every time she achieves a goal, she makes a new one that is harder and even more challenging than the last. No matter what, she doesn’t stop, she continues to work hard and improve herself. As she is doing all these great things, it was not just for her, it was for her family, her friends, and her community. I admire that and I aspire to be like her. I want to continue to strive for bigger and greater goals.
What is one thing you want to get better at? explain why.
One thing I would like to get better at is acknowledging what makes me great and good. I have seen I am a person who can barely accept a compliment, but the minute someone says something negative it is something I remember for the rest of my life. Along with many young adults, I find it hard to recognize my greatness. All-day I could point out my bad attributes. Although acknowledging my bad attributes helps me grow, I want to get better at acknowledging my good ones. I want to stop downgrading myself and learn to uplift myself more because I know that I am destined for great things. I just need to believe that every day and every hour.
What do you think is one piece of advice that you think adults need to hear, to help them connect with the younger generation better?
A piece of advice I believe adults need to hear to connect with the younger generation is just because we don’t go through the same trials as our parents when they were kids, it doesn’t mean we don’t have our own problems. We all need to acknowledge the world is changing everyday. As teenagers, we understand our parents went through hardships that seem worse than ours, but it doesn’t mean our problems are less important or less problematic. We go through things they never have. It’s not necessary to make the younger generation feel as if their problems and trials are irrelevant or dumb. Every generation has different problems and no one’s pain should be seen as dumb. Secondly, adults need to accept change and accept the fact that norms and their ideal world aren’t the same. New things are being accepted and it’s time to let the generation step up and take control with some guidance from the older generations. Change is inevitable and it’s time to accept it and adapt.
What accomplishments or awards are you most proud of? explain why?
Some accomplishments I am most proud of are being accepted into the National Honor Society, being chosen to be a drum major, and winning a Central America pageant. Being accepted into the National Honor Society was a proud moment for me because I have always been a good student and have always stayed on top of my grades. But sometimes as a student, it feels like your hard work is being unrecognized or it is not important. When I was accepted, I felt acknowledged for my hard work and it shows me I’m doing things right and I need to continue to work hard to achieve greater things. When I got the role of drum major, I was proud because I was going up against many strong and compatible leaders. During the season I really appreciated how people respected me and were content with having me as one of their leaders. This really showed me how much others believed in me. Lastly, representing my mother’s country in a pageant was a proud moment for me because I got the chance to represent my culture and show a different side of myself. That showed my love for Panama and a side I love to show off and express.
What impact have you made in the community that you are most proud of? explain why?
An impact I have made on the community I am most proud of is spreading kindness and awareness. I continually focus on kindness because I like to remember that you never know what others are going through and the pain they are suffering through. If my act of kindness makes their day just a little bit better then it’s always worth it to try to be kind. I say awareness because I like to educate others of my culture and the problems that happen outside the US. I also like to spread awareness for suicide because I have had a friend who died from suicide and it really opened my eyes. It doesn’t matter how happy someone looks on the outside because on the inside they are hurting and they need a helping hand. I just want to help those around me and make an impact on the world in a positive manner.
What do you think you want to do for a career. Explain why?
I would like to be a mechanical engineer because it is something I am interested in and feel I can learn to be great at. As I have gotten older, I realized no matter what I ended up doing I wanted to use my gifts and talents to help others. Engineer or not, I want to help my people and community as well as other people in the world. Whatever I can do to help others is what I’ll do with my education and skills.
What role have your parents played in helping you excel in life?
My parents have been supportive but also have driven me to be better. If I make a decision I know they will support me, but I also know they will do whatever they can to give me the best. They push me even when I’m done pushing myself. Sometimes I think they are hard on me but I know it’s because they see my potential. It would scare me if they never put effort into helping me because now I’m so used to them pushing me harder and harder. They do it when I’m in a sport or a club. No matter what, they help me push harder and harder even when I don’t want to push anymore. Last year, before our track season was cut short, I remember my coach telling me to stop holding back, overthinking, and doubting myself. He told me this was going to be a good year for me. That conversation reminds me of how my parents see my potential and see things I don’t see in myself, and that’s why they push me hard. I’m glad they never stopped pushing.