Local News

May 24, 2013

From wallflower to class president

Blanca Alvarez was shy and withdrawn when she arrived at Morris Innovative High School her junior year.

Now a senior who graduates from the school today, she had been sent there from Dalton High School because she wasn’t passing math, and Morris offers programs to help struggling students catch up.

Now, Alvarez is anything but struggling, and she’s definitely found her voice, according to those who know her. As class president with the student government association, she has spearheaded the planning for the school’s prom and sweetheart dances, helped operate the concession stands at sporting events and overseen other school-wide activities such as Teacher Appreciation Week.

On top of that, she’s participated in soccer and cross country, obtained her American Red Cross certification in first aid and CPR and is planning to attend Dalton State College to begin her studies this fall toward becoming a registered nurse.

She credits several teachers with helping her along the way, including health care teacher Judy Strickland, who she said taught her to think beyond herself. Strickland’s health care students have helped out during several health fairs and blood drives.

“We do a lot of hands-on stuff, so it really prepared me to be responsible and to care about other people,” Alvarez said. “It has really (helped me improve) in other classes, and now I don’t focus on me, me, me. I focus on other people and what they think.”

Alvarez said she was interested in medicine, but as recently as middle school she thought she wanted to go into veterinary science. As she saw the impact a good medical professional could have on lives, she decided to change her focus to working with other people.

School counselor Dee Bonds said Alvarez is easily smart enough to obtain a more advanced degree, even though she could get started in an entry level position with the classes she has had already.

Alvarez said she had the opportunity to go back to Dalton High after she caught up on her math, but she elected to stay at Morris.

“I feel like I’m more at home,” she said. “All the teachers here put a lot of effort into our education.”

That effort was part of what helped her break out of her shell and realize her potential, she said. It was also one of the things that kept her going when she developed a case of “senioritis” in December and began being tardy to school for a short time. She said her father encouraged her to keep at her work and not quit.

“If you give up, you’re going to leave all your dreams behind,” Alvarez said he told her. “You’re also going to let down all the people who are helping you here at Morris.”

So she pushed on, using a mantra that helped her remember things won’t always be the same.

“Never give up on your dream,” she said. “That’s how I look at it — in a storm, it’s always cloudy and stuff, but you never know what’s ahead of you. It might be something pretty.”

Principal Jennifer Phinney said she recently awarded Alvarez the Principal’s Award, which goes to a student who has “really contributed to the success and culture of our school... and that would absolutely be Blanca.”

In her spare time, Alvarez likes to run, hike and help her mother with gardening. She has an older sister and an older brother. Her parents are Jose and Olimpia Alvarez.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Dalton State turtle 4.jpg In the mood for love: Encouraging breeding, saving species

    For one Dalton State College couple, a cool misty shower is more effective than Barry White and candles at turning thoughts to love. And keeping this couple feeling amorous could mean survival of the species.

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Beaulieu expects 2,000 employees to be affected by week-long shutdown

    About 2,000 employees of Beaulieu of America in Georgia and Alabama will be affected by the company’s plans to conduct an inventory of its buildings and facilities next week.

    August 1, 2014

  • Moral monday 3 mlh.jpg Four ‘jailed for justice’ tell their stories

    Arturo Martinez was just 8 when his family came to the United States from Mexico, and though he is one of more than 500,000 young undocumented immigrants granted deferred removal by President Barack Obama, Martinez said his dream of pursuing higher education is out of reach because of Georgia policies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tanner Blackton: Diners, servers must show understanding

    Try to imagine this: You’ve been on your feet for hours, hoisting heavy plates, buzzing from table to table, taking orders, running food, refilling drinks. All the while, you have a smile plastered on your face and a go-to attitude, even when people blame you for things that are out of your control, berate you for accidentally mixing up an order, or loudly complain about being seated underneath an air conditioning vent.

    August 1, 2014

  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014