Faith and family guide college-bound entrepreneur

| Sharon Wilson | May 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Viridiana Arevalo — Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Minneapolis
Parents: Audencio and Eloisa Arevalo
Parish: Assumption, Richfield
Post-graduation plans: Study entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul            Photo by Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Viridiana Arevalo will be the first in her family to attend college next fall. This accomplishment is no small feat considering that first-generation students often don’t have the family support or expectation of pursuing post-secondary education.

Arevalo credits her father, Audencio Arevalo, with her desire to study entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul this fall. A small business owner, his caring, helpful and positive leadership has always been an example to her, she said. Neither of her parents completed high school, and both worked to support the family.

Entrepreneurship is not new to her. At age 15, Arevalo started her own business choreographing quinceañeras to support her family. She said the experience taught her the value of hard work, money management and using her time wisely. Not only did Arevalo grow from the experience, but her connection to God also grew.

“God puts obstacles in our paths, so we can learn how to face and deal with them,” said Arevalo, a parishioner of Assumption in Richfield with her father; mother, Eloisa; and younger sister, Gissell. “You grow out of the experience.”

At Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis, many opportunities have led her to believe that “service can be a transformative experience,” she said. She has served in a variety of leadership roles at Cristo Rey Jesuit, including working with HIV and AIDS patients, working on retreats and being part of a University of St. Thomas research program. Called “Together Possible,” the program is a collaboration between Cristo Rey Jesuit and St. Thomas researching first-generation college students. Through this research, Arevalo said she realized that “God reminds you that just because you come from a certain background, it doesn’t make you different or less worthy in his eyes,” and that it’s important for everyone to have equitable access to education.

“God doesn’t make any mistakes with his creation, including first-generation college students,” she added.

Arevalo’s faith life has grown over the years, too, and she has learned to see God in all things.

“As a child, I was sort of confused about my faith, but I have come to see solutions to problems in my life that can only be connected to miracles by God.”

She added, “You know that you are not alone in this world when these events happen. You know that God is at work.”

Faith, service and family have all been important in her life as she looks beyond high school and sets her sights on college and her future.

The unique work study opportunity at Cristo Rey Jesuit has also given her a chance to broaden her horizons. For the past two years, she has been working for St. Paul-based Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns several television and radio stations.

Her internship has been with KSTP 5 Eyewitness News. Though not involved with on-air projects, her skills and perspective have grown as she has worked with social media outlets by adding pictures to the website and other duties.

After completing college, Arevalo hopes to start a beauty company and continue her commitment to serving others by reaching out to create educational opportunities for young girls who otherwise wouldn’t have them.

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Category: Graduation