JAG has no shortage of incredibly impressive students and the National Career Development Conference Competitor, Jesus Garcia, is definitely one of them. An intelligent and driven student, Jesus was a newcomer to JAG, only joining right before his senior year. Despite being skeptical at first, he found it was a really good fit for him.
“I had a friend that was telling me about it. It seemed interesting. After talking to my business teacher she told me that she thought it would be a good program for me and what I want to do in life, so I just gave it a shot.”
Jesus had a goal upon entering JAG. He was striving to better himself and go to college. For him, keeping his grades up in his senior year was incredibly important. He used JAG as a way to hold himself accountable, and grow skills he wasn’t sure he had at the time. It helped with coming out of his shell, and kept him focused while giving him a wealth of different experiences.
“I think I've grown a lot. Honestly, JAG wasn't a class I wanted to take at the time. It was just something that my FBLA advisor had told me to give JAG a shot. But then, after a while, I noticed my grades were still good after a few months and like I had all A's for the first time since my freshman year. So it definitely helped me grow as a person and helped me build character along the way.“
Jesus excelled during his time in JAG. Along with using the program as a way to keep up his grades and make new connections and friends, he also managed to perform very well in JAG’s Career Development Conference (CDC). Jesus ultimately qualified for Nationals in Florida where he earned an impressive 7th place.
“Nationals was a great experience. I'm very grateful to have been in the position to go to Florida, especially when the only other state I’ve been to before is California. Seeing everyone coming together for the event was pretty amazing… I never thought I'd be able to see anything like that.”
JAG itself is a team, and Jesus found a good support system through not only his other JAG members but his coordinator, Michelle Gonzales. She worked hard to help him keep focused, and encouraged him to try new things.
“I feel like JAG helped me stay focused on my path and what I wanted to do and focus on my grades, because we checked in every other week. My coordinator was always involved, even though it's like a student-led class. She always gave us ideas and she helped us with our goals, whether they be competitions or anything else.”
Challenges are faced by every JAG student and Jesus is no exception. Having faced tragedy at a younger age with the loss of his mother, he uses it to give him strength. He found meaning in loss and pushed forward to make up for the moments he couldn’t have by making her proud. His resilience and determination has him working harder than ever.
“Well, the biggest obstacle I faced was when my mother passed away at 11 years old. And I had to see things from a different perspective. I'm big on faith and believing in God so that helped. He helped me focus and knowing that there's a plan, everything happens for a reason… I lost my mother, but I gained perspective from it. I'm not able to do the things I would have loved for her, in terms of buying her things, but there is a way I can help. I can become an individual I know that she will be proud of, so that's why I want to go to college and do all these things.”
Jesus stands not only to be the first of his family to go to college, but he’s also the first to graduate high school. He looks to set an example for his nieces and nephews. Jesus plans to study at a community college for two years and then transfer to Arizona State University to pursue a degree in finance. His determination and drive ensures he will excel as he pushes himself toward his goals. He has risen to every challenge put before him, and JAG is proud to be a part of his success.
Our Volunteers are a great way to introduce our program participants to paths they may not have thought of, or to explore options within their interests. To learn more about becoming a Pathway Maker with JAG, check our volunteer page here.