When coming into high school as a freshman, Anaili Garcia believed she wouldn’t fit in. After finding her place in leadership for multiple school organizations and a calling for art that won her the Gold Seal at state twice in a row, Garcia led a journey that made her four years at Palmview High School worthwhile.
“These four years…have been awesome,” said Garcia. “I was so scared to come into high school. But once in high school, I could say I had so much fun.”
Garcia joined organizations her school had to offer, such as the National Honor Society, Art Club, and The Academy.
The COVID-19 Pandemic was an upsetting experience to many, and for Garcia, missing high school milestones such as prom, pep rallies, and other school events left her with a feeling of loss.
“When the pandemic happened, I wanted to come to school,” said Garcia, explaining that it was difficult to turn all the organizations she was in into a virtual platform. Despite adjusting to online meetings, Garcia said that she and her team members were able to overcome the challenge.
Garcia brainstormed with her officers and hosted Zoom meetings. The National Honor Society had a canvas night, where students and staff could paint and relieve stress. They also hosted a donation drive with proper social distancing.
Garcia also received the Gold Seal at State for the Visual Arts Scholastic Event for her piece titled ‘COVID’.
“If you look at my piece, I have my cap and gown on,” began Garcia, explaining the process behind her work, which shows Garcia holding cleaning supplies while wearing a mask. The colored powder, which serves as the background, is meant to represent the virus. “The COVID pandemic affected our senior year in every way possible. It was a different lifestyle we had to get used to.”
Garcia applied to universities such as Texas A&M at College Station, Baylor, the University of Texas at Austin, and Saint Edward’s University. Garcia’s dream was to attend Texas A&M, but with insufficient credits to transfer, she decided it would be best to stay and attend the local university, UTRGV.
“My mind was set on going there, but none of my credits would transfer,” said Garcia, who received her associate degree in Mechanical Engineering from South Texas College last December.
“Because of all the support my parents have provided for me, now I hold leadership positions,” said Garcia, who proudly stated she is a daughter of migrant farmworkers and that she would help them work in the fields. “They’ve helped me when I thought everything was beyond my capabilities. I didn’t think I could do everything I did until now.”