Happy Hollow Park & Zoo has always been a special place for Victoria Garcia ‘24 and her family, one Victoria frequently visited when she was younger. When the Garcia family headed to Happy Hollow, they ran into a problem: English was not their first language. This meant they were unable to learn about the animals, as the exhibits were only available in English.
Last year, Victoria applied to be a Happy Hollow Youth Board Member with the goal of creating a bilingual scavenger hunt so other families like hers could fully experience what Happy Hollow has to offer.
“Growing up, my family and I would frequently visit Happy Hollow, and I wanted to make it a better place,” Victoria, now a senior at Presentation, said.
Going into the project, she had her heart set on making her vision of expanding access of the zoo to non-English speakers a reality. Since the spring of 2022, she has worked with a mentor on the board to create a free scavenger hunt that will be offered in both English and Spanish. To join in, participants will only need to scan a QR code. While Victoria is excited to see the plan coming to fruition, she confesses that it hasn’t gone exactly as she initially envisioned it.
“This opportunity has helped me improve my communication skills and learn how to compromise,” says Victoria. “My original vision for the project transformed as I began to receive feedback for it.”
Victoria collaborated with fellow board members to develop a plan that would fit the park’s needs and expectations while accomplishing her goal of ensuring that people who spoke a different language could interact with the zoo exhibits. Through this experience, she has learned how to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for people in the community who may have otherwise been overlooked. Now, people of all ages and backgrounds will be able to fully experience the place that has always been so special for Victoria and her family.
Victoria’s journey to making the world easier to navigate for members of her community goes beyond her involvement in the Happy Hollow Youth Board. She serves as a club officer for the LatinX affinity group, which is dedicated to creating a space for members of the LatinX community and sharing their experiences and culture with others on campus. She also serves as a club officer for Community Involvement, a service-oriented club on campus that provides outreach to communities in need. These opportunities supported Victoria in her path to reaching both her personal goals and academic achievements.
In addition to these leadership opportunities at Presentation, Victoria enjoys the school traditions. One of her favorites is “Feast and the Faculty Follies” because she enjoys watching her teachers perform the skits they create for students. Inside the classroom, her favorite subject is history. She appreciates learning about the unique stories and perspectives behind each historical event. As she enters her final year of high school, what she looks forward to the most is seeing what opportunities her senior year will bring.
“I am looking forward to being a senior and all of the special events that come with my final year at Presentation,” says Victoria.
Presentation creates an environment for young women like Victoria to thrive inside and outside of the classroom. With a focus on spiritual, academic and emotional wellness, our students learn to do well and be well. Contact us today to learn more about why Pres might be the best fit for your student.