Youth Spotlight: Diana Loera is proof that anyone can dream big
Eagle River Youth Coalition
Sitting down and talking with Diana Loera at her office at Colorado Mountain College was something I have always wanted to do to learn more about her journey and her dreams.
Loera is a student at Colorado Mountain College, and yes, I said her office in the earlier paragraph since Loera helps with the Trio SSS program at Colorado Mountain College’s Edwards campus. Her role in the Trio SSS program is a peer academic coach.
Even with her full course load every semester at CMC, Loera still makes it a top priority to help other students get through semesters with her tutoring skills. Loera has also been named the new Youth Advisor for Ensuring Safety with the Bright Future Foundation.
“I am nervous, but looking forward to helping more people in the community,” Loera said during our chat.
The big change
Loera was not born in Colorado or the United States. She came with her family from Mexico in the summer of 2012 when she was 12 years old.
“That changed my life completely. Not just for me, but for my entire family,” she said. “My parents brought me and my siblings here because in Mexico we were struggling financially, and there was no opportunity for us to thrive there.”
Further into the conversation, Loera opened up about how her family had nothing when they arrived, and not knowing how to speak English at first made it a whole lot harder.
“Having no home, parents had no jobs and we did not know how to even speak basic English,” she said.
It took a couple months of living with a family member before Loera’s parents were able to secure their own apartment.
“Seeing our apartment with no furniture or any decorations on the walls really stuck with me. We slept on air mattresses for a while,” she said.
It was at this point that Loera at a very young age realized how important money is. Seeing her parents go through this hardship motivated her to take every opportunity given to her and tackling it with heart and passion.
Passion for learning
Loera’s educational journey started when she was 12 when she entered seventh grade. Her peers where quick to make her feel welcomed.
“Random kids came up to me and helped me out. Even though I did not speak their language at the time, they really helped me feel welcomed,” she said.
The biggest barrier for her in school was the language. Even today at the age of 20, Loera admits she still faces a little difficulty, but can proudly say she is fluent in English.
“It has been a long journey, but I do consider myself to be bilingual,” she said.
Once she entered high school she made her grades her top priority. Throughout all four years at Eagle Valley High School, she was able to keep her GPA above a 3.5 and graduated with one of the highest GPAs in her graduating class in 2017.
One extracurricular activity that Diana pointed out as being one of the best decisions she made her high school career is joining the Cycle Effect as a freshman and continuing in their program for all four years of high school. She did not just learn how to ride a mountain bike but learned how fundamental it is to stay strong, fit and to keep pushing forward. She is quick to credit people like Mike Santambrogio and Brett Donelson as two people that helped fuel her belief in herself and her abilities.
“They really helped my mindset, and helped me see that women can do more than what they are expected,” she said.
Close to graduating, Loera earned a scholarship from Alpine Bank which helped pave the way for her to earn her associates degree in May of 2019.
What does the future hold?
After graduating with her associates degree in 2019 from Colorado Mountain College, Loera decided to continue her education with Colorado Mountain College.
“Coming to CMC was one of the best decisions I have made in my life,” she said. “My parents could not support me financially, and CMC made it easier for me to be able to afford my education. CMC has one of the best programs for early education in my opinion.”
Diana is the Christy Hill Scholarship recipient for the 2019-20 school year, and will be pursuing a degree in Elementary Education to become a teacher one day and help guide the future generation through their own journey.
“There will always be rough patches in life, but that should be a motivator for people to keep pushing forward. It feels good to overcome obstacles in life,” she said.
Gov. Jared Polis has lauded Summit County’s health care purchasing collaborative as a “transformative” step toward lowering the cost of health care. Officials in Eagle County are now hoping they can adopt a similar model for residents here.