Our Students

Maleny Calderon
Class of 2011

As a little girl I knew that I was meant to be someone. At a young age I was able to understand that an education would lead me to a better future. Although I didn’t know what attending a university meant (or the rigmarole that you have to go through just to get accepted!), I was 100% sure that I wanted to attend college.  Unfortunately when my family and I moved to the U.S. (from Mexico), I believed that I would not be able to accomplish my goals. School as an immigrant student was challenging because I could not understand a single word my teachers were saying. My teachers, however, saw that I had a potential to be a leader and nominated me to be part of C5. I started C5 as a “shy” camper who at times let her fears get in the way of experiencing new activities. I am now a confident girl with a bright future. Thanks to C5, I have been accepted to Texas State, the University of Texas at Arlington, Oklahoma Baptist University, Texas Christian University, and Baylor University. I’m graduating in the top ten percent of my class, and I can proudly say that from an ESL student, C5 has turned me into an A.P. English student.    

The way C5 has impacted my life is indescribable. I owe my high school success to this incredible program. With C5, I’ve discovered that I have the potential to overcome any challenge, whether it is my language barrier, meeting new people, or being comfortable at using leaves as my Charmin Ultra. C5 has changed my mentality. I used to think that everything should be about me, but let me assure you that the feeling of helping someone else, expecting nothing in return, is priceless. I want to become a math teacher and work with teenagers. I know that by being a teacher I’m not going to be the richest person in the world, but I know that it will bring joy to my life. I also want to work for C5 to help other teenagers, because this program is amazing and can save lives.

Maleny is currently studying Mathematics at the University of Texas at Arlington and was recently accepted into UTeach Arlington. 

Lakshya "Luck" Nagar
Class of 2011

C5 has allowed me to understand my capability of being a leader over the years. Today I am 6th in my class out of 559 kids. I’m going to graduate from high school this May, and then I will be attending the University of Texas. I have completed over 600 hours of community service, both with C5 and independently. But the most important achievement that represents the impact of C5 on my life is my Medallion community project. When you are a Medallion, you have the option to come up with a solution to a problem in your community. My group and I decided to tackle the issue of “at risk” freshman. The 9th graders in our school were vulnerable to possibly not graduating. We decided to mentor these kids, and we presented our project to the Annette Straus Institute at the Speak Up Speak Out event. Our group came away with 2nd place and $200 to aid our project. We combined everything we learned in 5 years to successfully present our project. This is what C5 imbeds into a person. It has led to me believing that I am a true leader and I am capable of reaching such great heights.

Luck is currently studying Neurobiology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Louis Perez 
Class of 2008

Louis is on-track for big things in the future. He is currently studying mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington and doing well. In two and a half years, he’ll start applying for substantial jobs with engineering firms. That’s pretty good for a kid from a family where neither mom nor dad graduated high school. His advice to anyone in C5: “Keep going. In the end, the time spent is worth it.” Louis was surprised to find that C5 was far more than something that looked good on his resume. It prepared him with tools and traits to be successful in college and set him apart from a lot of others on campus and in his neighborhood. “When I came back from my C5 summer and asked my friends what they did, they all said the same thing – played video games, watched TV, got in trouble, etc.” But when they asked him what he did, it was different. That’s when he realized the value of C5. “I got to do things I would never otherwise have been able to do. My mom and dad didn’t get to go to college and for awhile, because of money, I thought history would repeat itself with me. Then, on the college tour, I learned about all the scholarships available to me. C5 not only changed my life but it changed my family’s life, too. When I have children, their lives will be different because of my experience with C5.”