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Alumni Spotlight: Alisa Garcia

Alisa Garcia is a graduate of Cherokee High School (2022) and currently a sophomore at Chattahoochee Technical College and soon transitioning to Georgia College to study Public Health. She is a servant leader who has attended many of our student programs, and recently served as a Summer Leadership Team member for two of our Summer Leadership Institutes– Earthcare and the Healthcare & IT Institute, helping to mentor and inspire our current students. “As an alumna of the program, I am grateful to be able to return as a SLT member and give back. Being involved opens many doors during and after high school, giving one the opportunity to grow, make long-lasting friendships, and network with like-minded individuals who you may encounter in future endeavors.” ~Alisa Garcia

Paint a brief picture about yourself and what you are doing now.

I am Alisa Garcia, a current sophomore at Chattahoochee Technical College. Soon, I will be at Georgia College studying Public Health to become a Public Health Analyst. Recently, I participated in a one-day virtual summit with local health officials connecting over our passion to help change our communities. During my free time, I enjoy running, trying new places, being with family, and listening to Bad Bunny!

When were you in high school and which 21CL programs did you participate in?

I attended Cherokee High School from 2018 to 2022. The summer after my freshman year, I participated in the Earthcare Institute. After an immersive week of workshops and networking, my eagerness to grow as a leader deepened. In 2020, I virtually participated in the inaugural year of Healthcare & IT Institute, where I networked with healthcare professionals. The following summer, I completed my 21CL high school journey with SYLI Program.

How has your career unfolded and how did participating in 21CL help prepare you for your next steps going to college, taking on a new leadership role in community/college and after?

Although my professional career is yet to unfold, 21CL strengthened my skill set which prepared me for college. Learning to enhance my public speaking skills has helped form connections in a public setting, and being exposed to a diverse cohort of students taught me inclusivity. Being part of 21CL transformed me into a confident leader, especially within my community, which pushed me to start my non-profit organization, The Glandorf Project. This position allows me to embody leadership qualities such as decision-making, empathy, and relationship building; qualities that were instilled in me from 21st Century Leaders.

What’s your memorable or ‘aha’ moment during your time at 21CL? (Particular program, meeting a professional and diverse peer, speaking in public for the first time, etc.)

There definitely have been many ‘aha’ moments throughout my time at 21CL. The shift from being in-person in my first camp to online for the rest was a huge ‘aha’ moment itself. Although, the most memorable one was my second day at Earthcare; this being my first time away from home, and meeting and spending so much time with new peers was hard adjusting, however, while we played camp games, I was able to form new friendships and the “homesick” feeling went away. Afterwards while we sat in the dining hall and talked, there was a sense of relief because I was not the only one missing home. There was a moment of realization that everyone had mixed emotions, yet we were connected through our passion to grow and become successful leaders. Once the welcoming feeling brought on by my peers and camp facilitators sunk in, by the last day I did not want to leave camp. The day was eye-opening and taught me to take advantage of the numerous opportunities this camp would bring, especially since it was a privilege to be one of 90 students chosen.

Did 21CL assist you in developing a leadership style that makes you an effective leader? if so, how? And if you’ve recently learned something else about leadership please share!

Through 21CL I was able to find the most fitting leadership style, servant leadership. This summer, I had the privilege to be part of 21CL’s Summer Leadership Team for two camps – Earthcare and Healthcare & IT. With both camps having a diverse group of students, it was moving hearing the impact I was able to make through my leadership style at both camps. As someone who puts others ahead and serves with humility, it was touching hearing how I naturally embodied the servant leadership characteristics throughout the week from my R+ memos. Throughout the camp, I strived to have an impact on the students and my listening and empathy skills definitely helped achieve that goal. From reading how I “made our group like family” to inspiring students to open up, it was a full circle moment of my roots with 21CL, since this program helped me become more confident with my leadership abilities.

What advice would you give to a current or future student?

My advice to any student would be to challenge yourself and truly take in every second with 21CL. As I sat in my school library in 2019, I was hesitant on submitting my application out of fear of not being accepted. However, it was the best decision to apply since I was able to grow and learn through my involvement. In my community, I was rarely exposed to diverse groups of students. By challenging myself to partake in 21CL programs, I was able to perceive things through a different lens and became open-minded. It is essential to take in every moment and greatly appreciate being part of such a program. Although you may believe your time with 21CL is over, it truly is not. As an alumna of the program, I am grateful to be able to return as a SLT and give back. Being involved opens many doors during and after high school, giving one the opportunity to grow, make long-lasting friendships, and network with like-minded individuals who you may encounter in future endeavors.

How would you describe 21CL in three words?

There truly are not enough words to describe 21CL since the program is THAT great! Yet, I will say these: Transformative, Inspiring, and Fun.