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Hispanic Heritage Month Student Leaders

2023 Latino Student Honorees

The School Board is proud to recognize the 2022 Latino high school students chosen by their principals for their character, leadership and outstanding successes in school and life. The recognition will take place on Thursday, Oct. 12 at the 7 p.m. School Board meeting and include school-based Latino leaders.

Jamy Mérida Cortez – H-B Woodlawn

Jamy Merida Cortez

H-B Woodlawn is proud to nominate Jamy Mérida Cortez as our Hispanic student leader. Originally from Bolivia, Mérida has attended H-B Woodlawn for two years. She has been a positive, friendly, and supportive community member ever since enrolling at our school. Mérida loves school and has thrived in all aspects of our academic program. In addition to her academic talents, Mérida is a gifted musician. She joined the H-B Woodlawn Women’s Camerata last year – performing and traveling with the group. Mérida also has family members in Spain, and she is learning the Catalan language outside of school to stay connected with her Spanish heritage. Mérida will graduate this June and hopes to pursue a career as a filmmaker after college.

Dafnee Marquez Padilla – Arlington Career Center

Dafnee Marquez Padilla

Dafnee Marquez Padilla, originally from El Salvador, is an exceptional student at the Arlington Career Center (ACC)’s English Learner Institute (ELI). Within a year of arriving in the U.S., she became actively engaged in our school community. Dafnee served as Treasurer in the ELI Student Government, organizing fundraisers and empowering fellow English Learner students through her personal story.

Additionally, Dafnee participated in the ACC’s Diversity chats, demonstrating her commitment to inclusivity and equity. Despite language barriers, Dafnee attended college visits, co-organized ACC’s Cultural Night, and contributed to staff professional development on implicit bias.

Her quiet yet courageous approach sets an inspiring example for other English Learner students, emphasizing the importance of their voices.

Maite Gutiérrez Rodríguez – Yorktown High School

Maite Gutierrez Rodriguez

Maite is not only dedicated to her academics but also actively participates in extracurricular activities.  She is on the Principal’s Advisory Board at Yorktown, demonstrating her leadership skills and commitment to the school community.  Maite gives back to her community by volunteering with the Arlington Soccer program, where she works with young children.  She also serves as a camp counselor for an organization called LA LLANADA-leading activities for Latino children; she also plays travel soccer for 4 yrs and if this wasn’t enough, Maite works as a part-time lifeguard at the Yorktown Pool year-round.  Her family hails from Venezuela, and she takes pride in her cultural heritage.  She is also proud to be a Patriot!

Alexa LaRue – Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program

Photo of Shriver student Alexa Larue

Alexa is a vibrant and enthusiastic student leader at Shriver! Her fun-loving attitude and ability to connect with others make her a popular figure among her peers. Her willingness to sing and dance brings a lot of joy and energy to the school environment, inspiring other students to join in and have a good time as well.

Alexa’s love for learning is another wonderful quality. Being both outgoing and dedicated to her education, she is an excellent role model for her fellow students. Her enthusiasm for both social interactions and academics contributes positively to the overall atmosphere at Shriver.

Amy Murcia Teodosio – Langston High School Continuation/New Directions Alternative High School

Amy Murcia Teodosio

Amy Murcia Teodosio is an inspiring student who does not give up on her life goals, despite challenges. She is a calm, conscientious, and a caring young woman. She is a diligent student who works hard to do her best in everything she sets her mind to. She is strong, independent and courageous. During her time at Langston so far, Amy is a leader in the classroom. She is respectful and considerate, always offering a smile to our staff and fellow students. She helps her family and friends and is always there for them to lend a hand or an ear to listen. She stands up for what she believes in and does the right thing, showing her strong sense of character and self. Amy’s creativity shines through her work and you can see her artistic talent in everything she does. She is a pleasure to know and a joy to work with.

Deivi Martínez González – Washington-Liberty High School 

Deivi Martinez-González

“Caring leader”, “positive, can-do attitude”, “thirst for learning”, “optimistic and responsible”.

These are just a few of the long list of words teachers used to describe Deivi. His perseverance and gratefulness inspire his peers and teachers alike every day. He made huge strides in learning and acquiring language and content in a short period of time and he has big dreams for his future. One of his passions is technology and he always helps anyone in need of connecting the Smart Board to the computer or accessing Canvas. Deivi juggles daily multiple adult responsibilities and he does it with a smile. He is a role model for his peers, and he constantly encourages them to apply themselves and follow their dreams. Deivi is an inspiration for us all.

Natalie Portillo Torres – Wakefield High School

Natalie Portillo Torres

We are honored to recognize Natalie Portillo Torres. Natalie is an exceptional student, role model, and leader. She believes in the importance of citizenship, engagement and the power Latinos have in this arena. She is eager to learn more about civic engagement and aspires to attend college in order to make a difference in her community. Natalie has been recognized for her dedication to her academic and personal growth, being awarded the prestigious LULAC scholarship and the Girls Inspired & Ready to Lead Inc. award. She has been an integral part of the Latinas Leading Tomorrow chapter at Wakefield throughout her high school career, during which she has thrived as a member of the executive board. She has continually challenged herself by taking the most rigorous courses offered and was invited to join United Minority Girls in her junior year due to her academic achievement. Her positive outlook, collaborative spirit, and genuine care for her community are just some of the many reasons she was nominated to participate in the recently relaunched Upstanders program. The entire Wakefield community congratulates Natalie for earning this recognition.

Idalia Villatoro Molina – Arlington Community High School

Photo of student Idalia Villatoro

Idalia embodies the spirit of the ACHS community, dedicated to both her studies and peers, fostering support and empowerment. Born in El Salvador, Idalia excels academically and showcases strong leadership skills with a warm, humorous demeanor. Her passion for working with children ignited during Early Childhood Dual Enrollment courses at the Career Center. Idalia actively engages in community service through the Key Club, collaborating on projects with a sister school in Senegal and the Lymphoma Society. She plans to pursue post-secondary education at Northern Virginia Community College to become a kindergarten teacher, eager to continue serving and mentoring youth.

More Student Leader photos and bios will be added as they become available