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Surry Community College’s early college high school programs have a lot to be proud of. Nancy Garcia Villa, Mariana Vazquez Gallardo and graduate Leslie Hernandez are a part of the North Carolina Latinx 20 Under 20.

Hernandez, a Yadkin Early College High School graduate and current UNC Greensboro student, explained what the recognition meant to her.

“I did it not only to highlight my honors and achievements, but also to represent my family,” said Hernandez.

The other part of making the Latinx 20 Under 20 list is giving back to the community. Hernandez was busy during her time at Yadkin Early College High School. She was the indoor girls soccer team captain and leader of the Juntos 4-H organization. Hernandez spoke highly of her 4-H experience.

“To me it was 4-H. 4-H gave me a lot. It gave me a scholarship, develop myself, develop my speaking skills,” said Hernandez.

Garcia Villa is currently a student at Surry Early College High School. For her, the North Carolina Latinx 20 Under 20 honor will give her the platform to talk about immigrant rights, climate change, educational opportunities for undocumented students and other important topics.

“We can’t pretend racism and xenophobia isn’t in our community,” said Garcia Villa. “It might be uncomfortable to talk about, but awareness is where progress starts.”

Sarah Wright, Surry Community College lead instructor for Languages and Political Science, said the students are hard workers and will leave an impact not only in the Latin community, but also the entire community.

“I know our community has a bright future because they are going to be our leaders,” said Wright.

Vazquez Gallardo attends Yadkin Early College High School. She wants to become a nurse practitioner and provide healthcare to the Latinx community.

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