Huntington High School senior Alejandra Arana Villegas
Huntington High School senior Alejandra Arana Villegas 

Alejandra Arana Villegas Strives to Make Everyone Proud

january 24, 2023

Alejandra Arana Villegas is one of the hardest working members of Huntington High School’s Class of 2023. She is striving to make all of her dreams a reality and make her family proud in the process.

The teenager came to Huntington from El Salvador as a seventh graders and “from the beginning” made a “very strong” connection with English as a new language teacher Eileen Gonzalez. “It was very difficult for me to adapt to a new place; to a new country; to a new language and, even more, coming from zero without knowing anything is very difficult, but there are people who come into your life to help you overcome obstacles and Mrs. Gonzalez was one of them. Since the first day she met me, she trusted me and helped me and to this day I have a lot to thank her for since because of her I learned to trust myself and get out of my comfort zone and realize that if I want to I can achieve it. She taught me that things are not easy, but that with dedication I can achieve everything I want.”

Regarded by her teachers as a very special young lady, Ms. Arana Villegas impresses everyone with her work ethic and sincerity. She came to Huntington with many gifts and talents.

“Alejandra was a natural leader and caregiver,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “She excelled at English, but never once left her friends behind, always helping them. Today, Alejandra is studying cosmetology at Wilson Tech and has a thriving Instagram where she showcases her work. She hopes to pair her skills with a business degree in the future and own her own salon. I could not be prouder of Alejandra. She is one of my class mentors and has made such a positive impact on the kids in the class teaching them about reaching for their dreams and never giving up. She uses her own experiences as examples and the students really admire and respect her. I am going to be sad when she graduates, but I could not be prouder.”

Ms. Arana Villegas has sketched out a set of plans after discerning her interests for several years and working hard in specialized classes.

“I would like to study business administration since in the future I dream of having my own beauty salon and I feel that it would be very good to have a degree of this type for this career,” Ms. Arana Villegas said. “For now I’m focused on cosmetology. I’m in my second year at Wilson Tech and it’s a career I’m very passionate about because it’s not just about hairstyling, it involves a lot of skills and it’s a career for which you never stop learning.”

The teenager hopes to attend the New York Makeup Academy in Manhattan and become a professional makeup artist. “Like everybody else, I’ve got a dream,” Ms. Arana Villegas said.

The teenager participates in the BOCES Wilson Tech cosmetology program every morning before returning to Huntington High School for several periods of classes, including Literary Fantasy, Ceramics & Sculpture and Economics.

“One of my favorite courses is Literary Fantasy because I really enjoy reading and learning about many stories that we have read in class,” Ms. Arana Villegas said. “I feel that it is a class that involves a lot of imagination since all the stories we read are fantasy and that is the fun. I also love the Ceramics & Sculpture class because the teacher I have is very fun and I also love that we do projects and let our imagination run wild to create incredible things. I am very passionate about art and this class was one of the best classes I have ever taken these four years that I have been at Huntington High School.”

The teenager is mentor with the high school’s New World club. Ms. Arana Villegas is working with a pair of ENL program students. “This club is amazing for everyone,” the senior said. “Native Spanish speakers as well as native English speakers all feel welcome in this club. I would like to join the Art Honor Society as art is one of my many passions.”

Ms. Arana Villegas said she has enjoyed an “excellent” experience over the past four years. “I have learned a lot in all the classes I have had and I have made many friends and I am very grateful to all the teachers I have had since the beginning because thanks to them I have been able to get to where I am now,” she said. “I always wanted to accomplish my dreams and now I see that with effort you can achieve everything you want. I believe that one of the reasons why my experience has been excellent is that during these four years I have feel included in the school as part of a big family and more because the New World club is one in which you can feel welcome no matter where you come from or what language you speak. Club members will always have their hands open to receive you and I feel that many people (including me) who come to this country and who learn English as a second language feel very welcome to be in that type of environment.”

The senior keeps busy, but tries to set aside time for relaxation and enjoyment, too. “I have not traveled since most of my family lives here in New York, but I would love to go in summer to my country of El Salvador since it has been seven years since I have returned there and I know that I will have a very nice reunion with my friends and family who live there,” Ms. Arana Villegas said. “Last summer I took care of my sister and my cousins since my mother works. I also went to the beach. It is a place that I love very much because it gives me peace and on the beach you can enjoy a beautiful sunset.”

Ms. Arana Villegas fits in perfectly well at the high school, where she has developed so many happy friendships as well as several close relationships with teachers.

“In 10 years, I see myself running my own beauty salon,” the teenager said. “I see myself very happy for having accomplished all the dreams I have at this moment. I know that with a lot of effort I can achieve it. I also see myself as a professional makeup artist and I know that if I do my part I can achieve it. I dream high because I know the ability and the talent that I have and the desire I have to get ahead and show that anything is possible and I want to be an  example for other people who come to this country for a better future and that think that they can’t do it. I want to show that everything depends on how much interest you put in things to achieve them.”

Ms. Arana Villegas goes through each day with a sense of purpose. “In 10 years I hope to be proud of myself and will have fulfilled all my dreams and look back and see that all the effort and dedication was worth it,” the senior said. “I also hope that my mother feels very proud of me when she sees me succeed because it is thanks to her and all the effort she has made and the education she has given me and for bringing me here for a better future. I hope she sees that it was worth it and she sees me succeed.”