Kiwanis names Santellanes student of the month

Published 6:45 am Wednesday, January 27, 2021

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Austin Noon Kiwanis has selected Sarahi Duenes Santellanes, a senior at Austin High School, as their Student of the Month.

Sarahi Duenes Santellanes

Sarahi is a student representative on the Austin Public Schools Board. Although COVID-19 has impacted many school activities this past year, Sarahi states, “It has been an honor for me to be part of Austin High School, and it is full of wonderful memories. Not only does Austin High have outstanding employees, but all these four years have been of great help . It has opened doors that I couldn’t possibly have imagined.”

Sarahi has also been an active participant in the AVID program, Link Crew, Peer Power Partners, Girl Scouts, Austin High School soccer, STAND (anti-drug program) and the CEO business program. She is on track to be honored with a Scarlet Cord/United Way recognition at Commencement for her outstanding commitment to volunteering with over 160 hours.

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Her nomination form states, “It is through these experiences that you can see Sarahi’s ability to lead others, her determination, and passion which will take her far in life. She is a friendly, self-motivated, dependable, confident, focused, and responsible young woman. She demonstrates these traits in multiple facets of her life, showing her solid inner foundation. She has been volunteering since fifth grade which has her connected to others in the community and helped her become more outgoing. Duenes also helped with the Readers Cafe during free summer lunches at IJ Holton Intermediate School for the last two summers.”

Regarding future plans, Sarahi plans to attend Riverland Community College through the Hormel Foundation Austin Assurance Scholarship program to start her Associate Degree and then a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing through Winona State University. She then plans to continue her education at the University of Minnesota for a Doctoral of Nursing Practice.

A person who has had a notable positive impact on Sarahi is Laura Ramirez, a success coach at Woodson Kindergarten Center.

“For the past 13 years, Laura has been a role model by her loving, positive and enthusiastic acts that make me look up to her,” Sarahi said. “Throughout my academic years, Laura has been a great help by inspiring me to always do my best in school and to attend college because all the hard work pays off at the end. Laura also supports my CEO business (Latina Picosa), which is a great cause for victims of domestic violence. When I was in fifth grade, Laura approached me with the opportunity to volunteer in the community. I will now be a first-generation high school graduate and college attendant.”