Today, we’re excited to announce Christian Avila as our official 2020 YES Prep Holiday Card Winner! Christian, who is a 9th grader at YES Prep Southeast Secondary, took the time to do a special interview with us about his holiday card design, what it represents and how YES Prep has impacted him and his family.
Christian’s card serves as more than just a seasonal holiday card. It’s a symbol that signifies unity: “My art represents the emotions we should all feel this time of the year. The doves represent the peace we should strive for within communities and cultures. The heart symbolizes the love that every person should share no matter their religion, race, ideals, level of education, gender, age or social status. The cool colors, like green and blue, are meant to give a sense of calm and the light warm pink adds a bit of excitement to the calmness of the artwork.”
(You can click here to view the full list of amazing Holiday Card candidates from this year’s contest!)
Behind the artist
Amid this holiday season, one of the most valuable gifts is the ability to reflect on how far we have come. With dreams of becoming an aspiring first-generation college student in a pandemic world, Christian Avila—ninth-grader at YES Prep Southeast Secondary—understands what it means to make the most of an opportunity.
Avila has many talents, from soccer to boxing to baseball. But Christian’s enjoyment of art has dated back to six years old. As our 2020 YES Prep Holiday Card Winner, Christian has not only used that passion for art to connect with his YES Prep peers and teachers but also to inspire others on the value of self-expression.
“My experience in YES Prep has been extraordinarily fun and interesting. I have made a lot of friends [through my art] and have a bunch of favorite teachers. Art has always been something of sentimental value to me. Art is a way to cope, whether it’s from happiness, anger or sadness.”
Art has always been something of sentimental value to me. Art is a way to cope.
Meet Christian’s family
Both of Avila’s parents are from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and moved to Houston to grant Christian and his two younger siblings a better life. On the hunt for the best public schools in Houston, the Avila family was no stranger to YES Prep. Christian attended YES Prep Southeast Secondary since sixth grade, several years before we’d open our Southeast Elementary location.
"It's a funny story. My mom wanted me to go to YES Prep when I was entering kindergarten. She noticed an area of the school that had a sign that read 'Kinder Academic Center'. For that reason, she asked if I could enroll in the school but learned that it was a sixth through twelfth-grade school. My parents ultimately wanted me to go to YES Prep because they hear that I would have a better opportunity to be accepted in a college/university when I graduate."
Avila’s growth at YES has helped to build a strong belief in his ability to positively affect others. While he has a hand in several creative extracurricular activities, Avila has always committed time to his academics. His two favorite classes are math and social studies because he can nurture his love for history and learn to understand the calculations we experience in our everyday life.
My parents ultimately wanted me to go to YES Prep because they heard that I would have a better opportunity to be accepted in a college or university when I graduate.
YES Prep means opportunity
“My plans for when I graduate YES Prep are not yet set in stone, but I do plan on going to a university to study something that would provide lifetime impact. YES Prep to me means opportunity, somewhere where leaders are born and a place where students [like me] can be themselves. It’s a place where students can overachieve and prove to everyone that we can lead and change our world for the better.”
Christian’s story serves as a reminder of what we stand for at YES Prep—cultivating an environment where student achievement, culture & identity, and student talent can all thrive.
YES Prep to me means opportunity, somewhere where leaders are born and a place where students [like me] can be themselves.
Enroll your child at YES Prep
YES Prep Public Schools is a public charter school system in Houston, TX that helps graduates earn college degrees at four times the rate of their peers. Interested in enrolling your child into one of our 23 FREE-Tuition YES Prep campuses? Click here to learn more about our lottery program, serving grades pre-K - 3rd and 6th - 12th.