Dreams and calculations lead to a bright future

By Raiza Giorgi

When Gloria Sevilla told her parents she wanted to go to college, they weren’t sure how it could be done because no one in their family had gone to college before.

However, after fours years in the top five in her class at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, Sevilla, 18, of Solvang, will be attending Santa Clara University in the fall.

Her dream is to become a math teacher, preferably at Santa Ynez High. She sees the world through a mathematical focus: Sometimes she does calculus in her head; sometimes she wonders about the angle of slope on a plant’s leaves.

“I love math, and I hope to come back and be a teacher here at the high school one day,” she said.

The petite, soft-spoken Sevilla is involved in so many activities it’s a wonder how she can balance it all. She took all honors and Advance Placement classes at the high school, has been part of the track team (participating in the long-jump and several running events), dances in a Mexican folklorico group, and volunteers extensively.

She was recently awarded the Youth in Service award by the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation for her volunteerism with National Honor Society, Global Leadership, California Scholarship Federation, Advancement Via Individual Determination, Friends of Rachel, and the Mission Santa Ines youth group.

“I love helping people and I appreciate where I have come from,” she said, “and I want to inspire other kids that might not think college is a possibility and say, ‘Yes it is.’”

Sevilla is also passionate about the Organization of Latino Americans (O.L.A.) Club, where she has been secretary and now president.

She is excited but also a bit nervous about the future because she has never lived anywhere besides the valley.

“I am really looking forward to experiencing a new place and making new friends. I am so ready for the college world and to learn,” she said.

Still, she said, she will miss her friends and family and her church, where she works every Sunday in the gift shop for several hours, then attends the afternoon service before doing more volunteer work.

She also considers it a blessing that her successful dream of going to college has inspired her cousins to think about their academic futures, including several who have said they want to expand their horizons as well.