CVHS student-athlete and role model Frida Veliz has recently won an Every Student Succeeds Award. Veliz had lived in Guatemala her whole life with her father until January of 2020, when her mother told her she was going to move to the US to live and go to school. Within the next four days, Veliz was thrown into a new life in the Bay Area.
“At the beginning it was a little scary because I didn’t really know anyone and I had to learn a new language,” Veliz explained. “It was a big change.”
Leaving her home in Guatemala meant leaving not just her school and town behind but her family, friends, and language as well.
Despite the hardships and tough challenges, Veliz’s persistence and positive attitude helped her stay encouraged, along with many teachers and new friends she met at CVHS. Veliz really enjoyed her history class with her teacher Gerry Cox, not just because it kept her motivated but because she could easily focus on what Cox was talking about and it helped her with her English skills. Stacy Kania, Veliz’s English teacher, also helped her feel more comfortable.
When the pandemic hit just a few months after Veliz moved, she was determined to make the best of the situation. She began to spend time making beautifully created beaded bracelets and necklaces and selling them online! With this small in-home business, she has been able to make some money as well as pass time during quarantine by doing something she enjoys.
Learning an entirely new language during a pandemic when all interaction with others is limited was a huge challenge. Communication was hard, and being at home in an environment with her family who speaks Spanish all the time did not make it any easier. Despite these obstacles, Veliz continued to keep at it and use every tool she could to help herself learn, whether it was listening to music, reading books, and practicing as much as possible.
“Frida is a role model for all of us. She met life’s transition of moving to a new country with bravery and a fierce determination to get the most from the experience,” said Assistant Principal Brigitte Luna.
Veliz is also on the school track and cross country team, which she joined a few months ago when sports started to open back up for CVHS.
“I really like it, my teammates are really kind,” she said.
Veliz’s favorite event is the 800 meters, but she runs the mile as well.
After high school, Veliz is confident that she will stay here in the US and take advantage of the opportunities given. “I want to stay here and keep working hard to make my dreams come true,” Veliz explained.
Her courage is inspiring to all, and her hard work will continue to leave a mark on this world as she uses her determination and positivity to get through her life and new experiences.