Tatiana Aguilar was a smart little kid, happily on the road to success.
Then she hit middle school and, for the first time, met classmates who didn’t care. That seemed like the way to be part of the “in” crowd, so she let her grades slip and her enthusiasm for learning wither.
She might have stayed on that detour were it not for the Marsh Road Boys and Girls Club. With what she calls her “second family,” Tatiana made a 180-degree turn both in her studies and her life. As a junior at Myers Park High School, she carries a 4.56 GPA and has just been named Youth of the Year by The Salvation Army of Charlotte’s Boys and Girls Clubs.
She exudes confidence and stresses positive thinking, and that makes her a magnet, drawing other children and teens to her for advice and for the Latin dance classes she designed and runs. She tries to live by the motto: Do what you love, and love what you do.
“So many of my peers are weighed down by social pressure,” she says. “They let other people decide how they should live their lives, what choices they should make, even what they should wear. “ She says. “I want them to be their own selves. Be genuine. Be real.”
Tatianta grew up in a multicultural family where Spanish was the preferred language but where she heard relatives speaking French and Portuguese. She is bilingual, which she sees as an asset in today’s world.
She wants to pursue a career in neuroscience, either as a physician or a scientist. Her goal is to help develop new treatments for conditions such as paralysis and Alzheimer’s Disease. For now, she is trying to be a role model “who promotes courage, passion and love.”
“By doing this, I can build my own character and build on the character of others who pare part of the Boys and Girls Club.”