Mireya Iglesias-Ayala

October 01, 2013

All my life I had attended south side public schools, but I always searched for change. As I was graduating from middle school long after high school registration was over I stumbled upon San Miguel, or how I called it “the school next to the church we attend mass at.” My mom, while I was at school, went to talk to the admission director of San Miguel and made an appointment for my interview the next day. I was still undecided since I had seen the building yet never even knew that it was a high school. But I certainly didn’t want to attend high school with 5,000 other students, I would be lost.

The day of my interview I took a small tour and I immediately fell in love with the school, I saw myself reflected in all the students, it was a small community, a family striving for the same goal: quality education. I was truly blessed to be accepted to San Miguel on the spot regardless of the deadline.  That Saturday I took the entrance exams never knowing that one day I would be taking AP exams in the very same room. I received a scholarship to cover part of my tuition and knew I had an amazing opportunity that I was not going to waste.  It was obvious I was meant to go here.

San Miguel takes a major role in the lives of many students.  It provides such a wonderful education and life skills that many teenagers aren’t exposed to. We work at actual jobs while fulfilling a rigorous academic curriculum and participate in many extracurricular activities.  All of which are influenced by our Lasallian values. We are taken out of our comfort zone and are placed in an entirely new place where we learn to make it our own.

I had the pleasure to work at Tucson Electric Power Company in the Payroll and Accounting Department for more than two and a half years. Throughout such time my computer skills improved greatly as well as my efficiency and ability to manage databases.

Now I currently work at the University of Arizona Neurobiology Lab dissecting bee and ant brains to study their brain development. Being able to have the college and lab experience is fascinating. It is apparent that I not only developed essential work skills from my internships, but also life skills. Aside from gaining organizational, administrative, teamwork, and accuracy skills; I am growing individually.

My understanding of the adult life is broader; I have become confident in my speech and no longer fear adapting to change; I communicate better. I clearly received more from San Miguel than I had expected. An important life lesson I learned was to find joy in all that we do. Being surrounded by such amazing people at my internships and school I realized that every day is a new opportunity; a precious moment of life that deserves to be embraced. Such experience made me realize that once I pursue college I would work towards my engineering major as well as a business administration major. Each valuable in its own, but stronger when together.

However the beauty of it all is that San Miguel wouldn’t be a reality without our corporate partners, supporters and donors.  Supporters make our futures a reality.  They allow for money to not be an obstacle for families or our future. They stay with us during hard economic times because they see that their investment will be reflected in our futures, in our degrees, in our jobs, in our families. Without supporters, I wouldn’t have received the scholarship that allowed me to attend San Miguel, without the generosity of others I wouldn’t be here.

Now looking back I realize that attending San Miguel is one of the best decisions I have ever made. The question is not, Will I go to college? but rather, Where will I go to college? There is no greater satisfaction than knowing that San Miguel has prepared me for the future with the help of supporters, and that with in me lay skills that could potentially develop into something greater. San Miguel has showed me what I am capable of, has showed me that hard work pays off, has showed me the generosity of people, and has shown me my future.

The Arizona Leadership Foundation proudly provides scholarship assistance to private schools and Lexie’s Law schools throughout Arizona with no preference to religious or political affiliation. We believe parents should have a choice when it comes to the education of their children! The Arizona Leadership Foundation is able to offer scholarships through Arizona’s Corporate Income Tuition Tax Credit (CTC) Scholarship Program and the Lexie’s Law Corporate Income Tax Credit Program. These Arizona programs are education plans designed to help Low-Income families and families with Disabled/Displaced children obtain the best education for their children.

San Miguel High School is a private Catholic, Lasallian school located on the south side of Tucson. San Miguel is a member of the Cristo Rey Network of schools, designed to offer a unique, academic and work-oriented program for ambitious students.  San Miguel exists solely to educate children of the working poor, regardless of religious affiliation.  By the end of four years at San Miguel, graduates are ready to enter a university environment with confidence in their educational preparedness and a determination to succeed in their chosen field. San Miguel’s vision is college graduation and career success for every graduate.