By Giselle Alejo
Lupe Trujillo is the operations manager at Summit Rainier. Mrs. Trujillo has been a Summit supporter for five years and plans to continue in the future. She is most well-known for the support she offers Summit students.
1. What are some of your favorite things at Summit and why?
“Our mentoring program. Really close second is maybe the fact that our students are going to graduate having met all the college entrance requirements for any UC or private school.”
2. What makes Summit schools different from other public schools?
Mrs. Trujillo believes the mentoring program and the preparation for college Summit provides sets it apart from other schools. She believes that if schools offer support, it would benefit students in the long run. “If every school did what we do in regards to mentoring and preparation for entrance into college, the acceptance rate for colleges would be so much higher. Through the mentoring program, we make sure students take all the right courses, all of the right testing, that they write a personal statement, that they get recommendations. I think just the ‘hand holding’ that we do that sets us apart.”
3. What does community mean to you?
“Community means a sense of belonging. It means kind of synonymous with family. Kind of taking care of each other, the spaces that we’re in, and just being completely awesome and open with each other.”
4. How would you describe the community of Rainier?
“I think it’s pretty close-knit. It is pretty hard for any student to not feel included and valued, ya know? Unless they are absolutely trying their hardest to not feel that way. We are very much like a family that sometimes we don’t get along with each other, but if anything goes down we have each other’s backs.”
5. How do you believe we can support each other in times of need given the recent political events?
“Students and faculty working together to support each other. We’ve done a really great job creating spaces where we are listening to each other and understanding each other’s values. I have been very encouraged with the action that has come out, that has been student-led, and the amount of support that our faculty has given to our kids to allow them to kind of guide their own healing through this really difficult process.”
6. What is one of the current problems Summit schools are facing? What about Rainier specifically?
“Our school, in particular, its facilities. It is the lack of equitable facilities for our students, which really breaks my heart sometimes because our students are rock stars and deserve better. It’s just really disheartening, especially when we visit other schools or we have to take our students to visit other schools. It’s really hard for me to explain why those schools look the way they do and why they have all the amenities they do and how we are in broken-down portables.”
7. You have been at Summit since the beginning. What are the major differences from day one to now?
Before Mrs. Trujillo worked as the operations manager, she was a mother who wanted a support system for her children. She also added, “The core reason that I, as a parent and a member of this community, felt so strongly about this school has not changed and that is the reason that I am still here. And I will continue to be here as long as we are serving our students the way that we have been and we will continue to do so.”
8. You have had one child graduate from Summit and you have another on his way to graduating. Why did you choose to send your children to this school?
Mrs. Trujillo talked about how she chose Summit for her daughter so she could have emotional support. “I knew that my daughter needed additional support. I knew that she could benefit greatly from a mentor. I think academically she would have been fine at every other school, but I think the emotional support that Summit was able to give her, she wouldn’t have gotten at any other school public or private.” Her son, on the other hand, was given the opportunity to choose what high school he wanted to attend, and he chose Summit.
9. When you were in high school, what were you like? Do you have any advice for us high schoolers?
Mrs. Trujillo was a loud student who got along well with her peers. She also was an activist and wanted to know more about her heritage. Mrs. Trujillo believes students need to advocate for themselves when it comes to their education and personal beliefs. She also mentioned, “It is very easy to just go with what is there and what is presented to you. I have learned there is always another side. And I think that is part of growing up and becoming mature and a rock star person is just to question everything and follow your heart, even when the path has kind of been paved for you.” She also believes that “the path” can help you understand others’ experiences and let you be able to help the community.
10. How would you define the relationship between Summit Rainier and Mount Pleasant?
Mrs. Trujillo believes the relationship between Summit Rainier and Mount Pleasant is not as good as it could be. She recalls that the landlord did not give Mount Pleasant much of a choice and moved Summit Rainier in. Mrs. Trujillo believes there are steps we can take to create a better relationship with both schools. “We can do a way better job of supporting each other, but I think in the day today, things that we have to do, there is no time for us to sit down and collaborate the way that we could to create a better partnership. So there is room for growth. In the three years we’ve been here, I have seen improvement. So that makes me hopeful.”