Kevin Valadez began at Uplift Summit as an 8th grader. The school was new to the community but Valadez’s mother thought it would be a good opportunity for her son. He recalls his first year at Uplift Summit his classes were in portables. The then teen remembers thinking it was a big change from his old school. But as the years went by, Uplift Summit grew and the high school building was constructed in 2010.
“As the years went by I realized that it was the right choice my parents made,” said Valadez.
Valadez began to adjust to Uplift Summit’s culture and the goal of 100% college acceptance was cemented in him.
“The classes were smaller, there was more attention on scholars and the rigor was intense,” said Valadez.
The small class sizes also allowed scholars and teachers to form a tight-knit group. Alan Tolleson, then an art teacher at Uplift Summit recalls the group as being enthusiastic and ready to learn. Valadez said art was the class scholars were able to express their creativity and take a break from the rigor.
As Valadez approached his senior year his art teacher became a mentor. Tolleson moved up from teacher to dean to operations director of Uplift Summit. Valadez interned two summers with the operations team during the summer learning the ins and outs of operations but also demonstrating his worth ethic.
Tolleson recalls one summer he was tasked to change all the locker combinations. Valadez went locker by locker and manually changed each combination. His sense of responsibility and hardworking attitude made him stand out to directors, teachers and his peers.
Valadez graduated from Babson College in the spring of 2016 with a business administration degree. He has managed to keep in contact with Tolleson, now a regional director of operations. Seeing Tolleson’s professional growth inspired Valadez to come back to Uplift as a professional.
“The growth opportunity to transition from different positions attracts me to an organization like Uplift,” said Valadez.
The Uplift Summit alumni was hired by Uplift Williams‘ middle school as their officer manager, but Valadez has aspirations to one day be a regional director like his mentor.