Named Honorary Student Board Member for the 2015-2016 School Year, Cynthia is a senior at Jones College Prep High School and an active participant in the Mikva Challenge – an organization she credits with helping her develop the confidence to pursue this position.
“I assume this role as a product of my community,” said Cynthia to the Board. “As a Latina, as a Jones student, as part of a low-income family, and as part of a migrant family.”
A native of Chicago’s Pilsen community, Cynthia attended Perez Elementary and Orozco Academy before being admitted to Jones. Her mother, who emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico at age 19, only had the opportunity for a third-grade education, but is now taking ESL courses to expand her language skills.
“I’m very proud of her and how much she’s improved,” said Cynthia. “It’s been quite the experience learning about the adversities she’s had to face since coming to this country.”
A keen interest in public policy led Cynthia to the Board, as well as to the Mikva Challenge, where she works with decision makers citywide to help improve quality of life for Chicago’s youth.
“I’ve never been one to get cynical about problems and let them become obstacles,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to do something about them, even if the obstacle wasn’t in front of me, but in front of someone else.”
Cynthia also serves as Secretary of the Spanish National Honor Society at Jones, and spends time as a peer buddy in the school’s ACES program – an opportunity for typically developing students to work with their peers who have diverse learning needs.
“It humbles you,” said Cynthia of the peer buddy experience. “You never think about basic things like being able to walk or speak, but for these students, these are the everyday obstacles they have to face. It’s amazing to see them work together to help each other out.”
As the Honorary Student Board Member, Cynthia will also serve on the CEO’s Student Advisory Council, but she will be the single student to represent her nearly 400,000 peers with the Board.
“I’m just one face representing the many faces of CPS students,” she said. “I am honored and respectful of this privilege.”