Waco Chat

Evelyn Guevara

By Kevin Tankersley

Waco High School 2021 Valedictorian

“I’m the first person in my family to go to high school.”

My interest has always been in psychiatry, but I’m really leaning more toward working with kids, so maybe pediatrics. I feel like that could always change.

I would say that [my interest in medicine] really began when I noticed that every time I would go to the doctor, we would always have to wait for a nurse or someone who worked in the front desk to come with me to translate. It was never the doctor who would speak Spanish for me and my family. I really noticed that disconnect between the doctor and my family.

I feel like one of the most important things that doctors should focus on is having their patients trust them and be comfortable with them. I’d compare that to whenever I would go visit my dentist, who spoke perfect Spanish, I would notice how comfortable my mom would be with him. She loves going there because she knows there will be someone who understands her perfectly.

I’m the first person in my family to go to high school. My parents dropped out in the sixth grade. They were both one of eight children. That’s a lot of mouths to feed, so they had to help out their families. They’re from Mexico.

Guevara chose to meet at Dichotomy because “coffee is what fueled me through high school to be this successful,” she said. On a warm July afternoon, Guevara ordered an iced vanilla latte. “I grew up drinking it, the warm version, during Christmas and other special occasions.”

They came to the United States whenever my mom was pregnant with me, so 18 years ago. She was 27 or 28. They wanted me to have a better life here than they did over there. The main factor is education. My mom is Camerina Mendoza. My dad is Juan Guevara.

I was very lucky to have really, really great counselors and teachers who were so willing to help me get to college and not have to worry about financial aid and all that. My main counselor was LouAnna Arterburn.

My college readiness counselor was Alfred Freeman. He was really one of my main motivators to turn things in on time. He helped me fill out the Common Application for all the colleges that I applied to.

I’m a little nervous, but I feel like I’m more so excited to go since this summer. I’ve really made a lot of good connections already with people there, so I’m not going not knowing anybody. I do know a few people there.

It’ll be a little nerve-wracking being at such a big school in a big city that I’ve only ever been to like twice. The main motivator to choose [University of Texas] was it has a really, really good science department, especially for my major. Also, the school gave me a full [financial] ride for four years.

Evelyn Guevara graduated from Waco High June 11 as class valedictorian — the first Hispanic female to achieve that designation — with a GPA of a little more than 108. A month earlier, she graduated from McLennan Community College with her associate degree, with highest honors and a perfect 4.0 GPA. She did all this while working about 25 hours a week as a cashier at H-E-B. She’ll be a pre-med student at the University of Texas in the fall, majoring in biochemistry.