Dual Credit program graduate finds her calling by helping others
Genevieve Vallejo talks about her experiences getting involved her in her community from a young age, and the impact she has made for those in need. Vallejo, who is currently a senior at Mercedes High School, graduated with an associate degree in Science from STC in December and plans to enter a pre-med track when she begins at Baylor University in fall 2024.
Genevieve Vallejo, a recent South Texas College Dual Credit Program graduate said she was only 5 years old when she became inspired to make a difference in her community.
Out and about one day in her hometown of Mercedes, Texas, Vallejo said she was deeply impacted when she began noticing the large numbers of people who were homeless and hungry, especially children.
The image of those residents in her community needing assistance planted an image in her mind that persists to this day, she said.
“I started doing community service when I was about 5 years old. My parents have always instilled in me that it's good to give back to others, and when we were in town I would see people out on the streets and my mom would explain to me that they were homeless and how they needed help,” she said. “So, I took matters into my own hands. That's when I told my mom about my goal to try to help others, and that’s when I decided that I wanted my platform to be eradicating hunger.”
I started doing community service when I was about 5 years old. My parents have always instilled in me that it's good to give back to others, and when we were in town I would see people out on the streets and my mom would explain to me that they were homeless and how they needed help.
Several years later, Vallejo said she was in middle school when she established her first nonprofit organization. She began Genevieve’s Helping Other People Envision (HOPE) Foundation that over the last four years has organized meals for the homeless as well as her annual Christmas toy drive for children in the community.
At the same time, Vallejo said she volunteers at DHR Health in Edinburg, working with pediatric cancer patients.
Being involved provides the vital link between community service and college readiness she needs as she begins to plan her future, she said.
“I really enjoy giving back to others and I try to get my classmates involved as well,” she said. “Through my nonprofit, I give other students the chance to volunteer and so they can come and see the impact I'm trying to create within our community. It’s just opening people's eyes and showing them that they make a positive change in our region, which has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember.”
Vallejo, currently a senior at Mercedes High School, graduated with an associate degree in Science from STC this month and plans to enter a pre-med track when she begins at Baylor University in fall 2024.
As a dual credit student at STC, Vallejo was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and maintained a 3.5+ grade point average.
At her high school, she is currently an active member of the Mercedes High School STEM Academy, band, Future Farmers of America (FFA), National Honor Society, and serves as Student Council parliamentarian and president of the RGV-LEAD Ambassador organization.
“My goal is to keep on giving back to others as a doctor,” Vallejo said. “I plan to be a pediatric oncologist and by working with children, I one day hope to find a cure for cancer, so children no longer can be affected by this disease. This goes hand in hand with my platform for eradicating hunger. With both of these goals in mind, I am trying to make a bigger impact in the lives of others.”
As she looks ahead at her journey in higher education, Vallejo said she hopes to set an example for future students who want to move forward and make an impact in their lives as well as the lives of others.
“To students like me who are working hard to reach that next stage of success in their education, I would tell them to just believe in themselves. Things can get done if you truly believe and have faith in yourself to accomplish anything you can,” Vallejo said. “That's the kind of example I'm trying to set for others. Maybe they see that If I am able to graduate with these accomplishments, they can too, as long as they work hard and are dedicated to what they are doing. With dedication, they can complete anything they want to do.”