Friday, May 26, 2017

Anali Cervantes: Hard Work Starting to Pay Off

Anali Cervantes was a hurdler when she ran track, a talent that, metaphorically, has served her well.

High school has been something of a hurdle for Anali, a Stratford senior, but a strong character and work ethic have her ready to graduate with the rest of her class.

“Despite some pretty great odds, Anali wanted to be a Spartan,” said Stratford counselor Greg Fore.

To say Anali works hard is something of an understatement. Besides maintaining her grades, Anali is a trainer for the varsity football and track teams. She holds down two part-time jobs. She’s an intern with the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), where she periodically goes to Memorial Hermann Memorial City and observes rounds.

At 17, she’s one of the youngest students in Stratford’s class of 2017. But she’s also one of the more morally centered – she was named Stratford’s Character Without Question student this year, which recognizes students who always seek to do the right thing.

It might have been easy for Anali to just give up, to give in to circumstances beyond her control when her family lost the house where they’d been living, and when her mom and siblings had to move in with her father in another school district.

But a family from Anali’s Mormon church reached out and took her in, letting her live with them so she could finish her high school studies – including athletic training, three hours every day after school – at Stratford, as a Spartan. She could also continue to work her part-time jobs.

While it may be no surprise that Anali wants to be a nurse, her reasons come from a deeper place, from a family place. Anali is the second oldest of six siblings, but a brother who died as an infant spurred her interest in medicine.

Her little brother was the first male child in a family of girls, but he was born with multiple defects and died two months later. “He never came home from the hospital,” said Anali.

Still, it was spending that time at the hospital that spurred her interest in medicine. She hopes to turn nursing into a career as a nurse practitioner.

She plans to attend Brigham Young University-Idaho (BYU-Idaho) in the Pathway program, where she’ll take three semesters online while also taking classes at Houston Community College (HCC). She plans to move to Idaho after that to finish her studies at BYU-Idaho.

She’s gotten some scholarships – one through athletic training, one from the Assistance League of Houston, another from the Camacho Foundation – and is working on others. She’s a good student and a member of the National Honor Society.

Anali doesn’t have much free time, but likes to spend what little she has with her family – “I don’t get to do that much,” she said. She also likes to paint, and she said that she’s “always liked distance running.”

She does get to see her mother and siblings every morning at church – she said her mom picks her up before school every day. She gets to see her dad on Sundays when she goes to visit. Her little brother tells her that she’s his favorite, she says, with not a small amount of pride.

Fore will remember Anali as perceptive, kindhearted and genuine.

“She used to come by the office and ask, ‘How are you doing, Mr. Fore,” he said. “I’d always say ‘fine’ but she had the skill to read me. She could always tell if I was tired or stressed.”

He’ll also remember her perseverance.

“She’s worked her tail off for those scholarships,” he said. “The work she has done has been incredible.”

by Rusty Graham


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