Jessica Esquivel is a senior at Sequoia High School who arrived in the United States when she was nine years old and learned to speak English in the fourth grade. She is now in the top 10% of her graduating class and is part of the International Baccalaureate certificate program, a rigorous academic path that awards college credit to successful students. Currently the co-chair of the San Mateo County Youth Commission, she has been an active member for all four years of high school. During that time she has contributed to numerous Youth Commission projects, including Jobs for Youth, Health and Sex Education, and the development of the Hate Speech Prevention Tool Kit.
Her current focus is the PRIDE Initiative, which seeks to foster an inclusive environment for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer communities of San Mateo County. In June 2010, she presented to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on the Commission’s Mental Health Magazine Project and the results of two “fishbowl” discussions for the PRIDE initiative. In addition to her involvement with the Youth Commission, she has co-taught with the Upward Bound Program, which prepares young people for college, and has contributed to beach cleanups, soup kitchens, and San Mateo County’s Annual “Streets Alive” event. She is also a talented dancer.
Jessica’s graceful tenacity in overcoming obstacles and steadfast focus on community service and social justice make it clear that she has a bright future ahead of her which will include the betterment of the community.