Sunday, July 21, 2024

Angela Gunter, 2024 CHS grad, wins Dell Scholarship to attend UW

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LEAVENWORTH—Angela Gunter, a recent Cascade High School graduate, clearly sees the path ahead, and she’s been striving toward it for a long time. This fall, she will attend the University of Washington to study pre-nursing.

“My motivation to work in healthcare comes from my family,” Gunter said. “At a young age I would go to doctor’s appointments with my mom whether they were for her, for me, or for my siblings. I was present at most of these appointments so that I could translate for my mom. I realized how important it was for my mom to effectively communicate her problems with doctors, as well as making sure she knew what the doctors were saying. 

“I noticed the lack of bilingual nurses and doctors at our clinic. I also realized that my mom wasn’t the only Hispanic who struggled with language barriers at their appointments. This created my motivation to work in healthcare and be able to help those of the Hispanic community who can’t advocate for themselves due to language barriers.”

In addition to assisting with interpreting for her mother at doctor’s appointments, Gunter helped with other family needs, like caring for her three younger siblings and working at Heidleburger throughout high school for extra income. When opportunities arose in her junior and senior years to participate in school sports and clubs, Gunter did so with gusto; she committed to and exceled in basketball, soccer, the Sports Medicine Club, Interact Club and serving as the senior class Vice President.

In particular, being a senior class officer came with a lot of responsibility. “One of my favorite aspects about being VP was being able to advocate for my peers,” Gunter said. “Everyone wanted a trip to Silverwood, and we made it happen! This trip took a lot of fundraising. 

“The most memorable fundraiser, the Homecoming dance, required a lot of planning and hard work from all of the senior class officers. My favorite part about planning was taking in all of my peers’ ideas and doing my best to fulfill their expectations for the dance.”

Gunter participated in AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), which offers a teaching and learning style to enhance other coursework through student-centric, inquiry-based teaching that includes high expectations, thus readying students for the rigors of college. Gunter explained, “Being a part of AVID means being able to go on college campus tours, listening to guest speakers who often represent a college or college program, and having the extra time and support to work on college and scholarship applications. 

“AVID is important because of both the skills that you learn and the relationships you make. AVID is a family where we help each other succeed!”

Gunter’s AVID teacher, Malia Renner-Singer, who also taught her in Chicanx Studies, said, “Angela is a very dedicated and motivated young woman. She’s had to overcome challenges and is well-respected and regarded by her peers.”

Gunter developed a love of many different subjects, and especially enjoyed Chicanx Studies, EWU English with Roslyn Robison, and Pre-Calculus with Bill Davies. “Chicanx studies taught me more about my culture, personality, and identity. It was an empowering class because I became proud of being who I am: Mexican-American,” she said.

During her junior year, Gunter applied for and was accepted into the prestigious UDOC six-week summer program through University of Washington. “This program was a game changer,” Gunter said. “We were introduced to professionals who worked in different fields of healthcare. They were all people of color, some were first generation, and all had a background that we could, in some way, relate to. Meeting these people inspired me to pursue a career in healthcare. They showed me that I too, can reach my goals.”

With this focus on attending UW to pursue a healthcare career, Gunter took a leap of faith and applied for numerous scholarships. “When I applied for the Dell Scholarship, I didn’t have my hopes up. It was shocking news finding out I got past the first phase. The second phase was a series of more questions. I constantly asked Mrs. Rieke [CHS career counselor] and Mrs. Renner-Singer for help on answering them. Finally, I found out I was selected as a Dell Scholar, and I was so grateful. Not only did they offer $20,000 but also a Dell laptop, and counseling online throughout college.”

The Dell Scholarship is awarded for determination to overcome life’s challenges as much as it is about academic success. “The scholarship committee seems to be able to get a sense of how much grit a student has shown,” said Renner-Singer.

In total, Gunter earned about $65,000 in scholarships, including the Dell scholarship and the Washington State Opportunity Baccalaureate scholarship, which was also highly competitive.

She has had a taste of life at UW from her summer program, and Gunter is eager to return. “I fell in love with the campus.” And, while Leavenworth is her friendly hometown, Gunter is excited to meet new people and make new friends at UW. Looking back, she added, “I am very grateful for the support I received at Cascade High School, especially from Mrs. Renner-Singer, Mr. Davies, and Mrs. Rieke.”

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