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Student Spotlight: Johnson Leyva

Travis High School
college forward, college, student focused, austin non profit

During the spring semester, we interviewed College Forward student Johnson Leyva. Johnson is a rising senior at Travis High School, and will be interning with the City of Austin this summer. He shared his college goals and goals for this summer! You can read all about him below. 

What was the highlight of your semester?

The highlight of my semester was right before the whole COVID-19 quarantine hit. I was going about my usual business checking my email and to my surprise, I see an email from The City of Austin regarding an interview for an internship I applied for. Thankfully I had my coach Madz to help me get ready for it.

Why did you apply to College Forward? 

Well, I had heard of some of my friends joining or considering to join CoFo and I didn’t really give it a thought until one of my friends asked me to join with him, that’s pretty much the only reason I joined but I now see that I did the right thing in joining CoFo because so many opportunities opened up and I am now filling up with college information.

How has College Forward impacted your high school experience?

Now I am an introvert so I like being quiet and not really talking so My high school experience has been pretty good so far, it just consists of minding my business. But CoFo has made it even better. Because of CoFo, I have met new people I can now call friends and I have acquired new skills to use for the future.

What is the best advice you ever received?

I think the best advice I’ve gotten is to always have a firm handshake. First impressions do matter and if I were to meet someone for the first time and showed up and shook their hand and my hand was all soft letting them carry it, that isn’t a handshake.

What do you want to study in college?

I’m still undecided as to what I want to study specifically but I want to go into some sort of engineering. I’m thinking maybe mechanical or electrical engineering since they’re both good-paying jobs. I believe in working in something you enjoy otherwise you’d just be working somewhere without being happy and just burn yourself away.

What is your goal for the summer?

My goal for the summer is to work with the people from the internship with the city of Austin and expand my abilities and knowledge of what to expect in the real-life after school after college and see what the environment is like.

How can your coaches, mentors, and teachers best support you during this time?

These times are difficult and maybe hard on some but my coach, Madz, is doing a great job supporting and encouraging her kids through this with regular check-ins and meetings. She also keeps us busy by giving us tasks to complete like resumes and college matrix’s and it does help keep our minds off of what is happening. So if you’re looking for my opinion on how coaches, mentors, and teachers can support us during this time I say just take a look at what Madz is doing cause I feel pretty supported.

Who has motivated you the most throughout your time in high school?

For me, it’s my friend Kai. He’s the one that got me to join College Forward and also challenges me without knowing it. Whether its in guitar where he literally helps me figure out how to play or just when he tells me what he’s up to academically and makes me want to strive for an even greater challenge. Also, he does sometimes tell me I can do more than what I am doing now and that I can be.

What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

My biggest accomplishment this year, so far only consisting of almost 5 months, is getting accepted for the City of Austin internship. I’m so very thankful for my coach Madz for telling me to at least apply and see what happened. I found the paper she gave to kids in the first couple of meetings after school in my backpack while I was cleaning it out and until then I had completely forgotten about it and when I applied, it was the last day they would be taking in applications. Now I’m on my way to working with the City of Austin as part of a paid internship.

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