While many her age had an idea of what they wanted do for the rest of their life, then-seventh grader Ashley Zubiate did not.
That all changed once Zubiate joined a program at her middle school called AVID and since that point, the Arcadia High School senior has had her sights set on working in education.
She’ll have a chance to further reach that goal after the Scottsdale Charros named her one of two recipients of the Future Teacher Scholarship. The scholarship aims to encourage Scottsdale Unified School District high school seniors to pursue a career in teaching.
The Charros select winners based on achievements in both academic and non-academic settings. The scholarship is renewable for up to four years “as long the student continues to meet criteria each academic year,” according to the Charros website.
Miss Zubiate comes from what she calls a “family full of teachers” that include her father, aunts, cousins and uncles, going back quite a way in her family history.
It was one of her aunts specifically that Miss Zubiate gained the most inspiration from because of their mutual interest in special education.
Miss Zubiate said with the encouragement of this aunt, she could see herself working in special education.
“When I go to the elementary school, I work with special needs kids and it’s incredibly fun and I feel like it totally fits me,” she said.
Another inspiration for Miss Zubiate came during the AVID program in middle school. Sally Jepson was Miss Zubiate’s teacher at Ingleside Middle School during the program and was supportive and helpful throughout, she said.
“She’s my inspiration and I told myself I want to be like her one day,” Miss Zubiate said. “I want to work with children and try to get more involved. She’s been my inspiration for anything now. She gave me hope and an idea of what career path I wanted to go on.”
At Arcadia, Miss Zubiate is heavily involved in numerous activities and groups, a practice that also started in middle school.
Those include being president of the volunteer club, treasurer of the Arcadia Student Advisory Board — which she said also works as a kindness club — and volunteering at a local elementary school working with children.
She also said she loves to spend time with her friends as much as she can and attending as many Arcadia athletic events as she can. She said basketball is her favorite.
Away from school, Miss Zubiate said she takes photos for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
“I’ve met so many people and I’ve made new friends,” Miss Zubiate said. “I try to be in leadership of clubs that really impacted me just to see how I can impact others with how these clubs have affected me.”
One of Miss Zubiate’s responsibilities on the advisory board included trying to make Arcadia a “No Place for Hate” school.
This includes trying to promote more kindness at school and better cultural and ethnic awareness, something she said can be difficult in high school.
“We try to bring it to (the students’) level to where they get the attention but they don’t know they’re learning it but they do get affected in a good way,” Miss Zubiate said.
One way she and the board try to relate this goal to their peers is by hosting activities such as suicide awareness day. This entails sharing anonymous stories of those who committed suicide to raise awareness of what led up to the suicide and how to prevent it from recurring.
The board then puts the stories up at a central location in the school along with facts on suicide and other ways of raising awareness.
“We just try to get more information out to people so they can be more aware of things,” she said.
When Miss Zubiate graduates, she will continue her education at Arizona State University.
Scottsdale Independent News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 623-445-2738