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You know you have found someplace special when you look for ways to stay connected after you’ve left. For Yanelly Lopez, a 10th grader at Veritas High School, that special place is Seeds of Health Elementary (SOHE). Yanelly’s connection to this school is twofold. First, her family loves it so much that her 7th grade brother and K4 sister, as well as many of her cousins, are current SOHE students. Second, as a taekwondo powerhouse and talent, Yanelly wanted to use her gift to give back. Yanelly volunteers as a taekwondo instructor in the very SOHE taekwondo program that introduced her to the sport. Yanelly volunteered her time and talent this past school year in hopes of inspiring and encouraging young children, and as a way of saying thanks for the tremendous gift the program and the school had given her.
Starting with Seeds of Health
The fact that Yanelly feels such a deep connection to her former school and wants to give back is solid proof for her mom, Jackeline Cordero, that she made the right decision when she decided to enroll Yanelly in the K5 program. At the time, Jackeline was looking for a school for her daughter to start K5. She chose Seeds of Health because her nephew had enrolled there in K4, and she had heard about the small classes and individualized attention offered to its students, as well as the great family vibe felt by all. What she had heard was true, Jackeline soon realized, and she knew she had made the right choice. She had also heard that children could start in a Seeds of Health school as early as K4 or K5 and stay with that school system all the way through high school. This appealed to Jackeline as well, and it is serving Yanelly well – today she attends one of the four Seeds of Health high schools.
Gaining confidence in sports, school, and life
It turns out Seeds of Health Elementary (called Windlake Elementary when Yanelly began in K5) was the perfect place for Yanelly to blossom from a shy girl to an academic success and taekwondo sensation. She credits her success to the small classes, caring teachers, personalized attention, and connections made in her school. She also says her involvement in taekwondo (one of Seeds of Health Elementary’s extracurricular program offerings) was pivotal in helping her to quite literally “break out of her shell” and gain the confidence needed for her sport, school, and life. “I was very shy when I was younger, and by being in taekwondo, I was encouraged to try things I’d never tried before. The instructors pushed me and got me to be more comfortable. They were amazing and the program is amazing.” Today, Yanelly is continuing to excel at taekwondo (she’s almost a black belt), and of course, she’s giving back by volunteering in the after-school taekwondo program.
A Parent Ambassador
Hard work and giving back to the community are ideals instilled in Yanelly by her mom, who leads by example as a Seeds of Health Parent Ambassador. Jackeline says, “I want my kids to learn as much as they can in school and give back to the community. I try to challenge my kids in the areas where they need help. If something is hard for them, I’ll push them a little harder to work at it.”
As a Parent Ambassador, Jackeline Cordero has always been deeply involved in the educational experiences of all her kids. Jackeline takes great pride in being a part of Seeds of Health Schools. She loves spreading the word about Seeds of Health Schools and encouraging other parents to enroll their children in Seeds of Health Elementary, or for older kids, one of Seeds of Health’s high schools (Veritas, Grandview, and two Tenor High Schools). There are so many reasons she promotes Seeds of Health Elementary, but simply put she states, “I like Seeds of Health because the teachers are very nice and so connected with the children. They offer one-to-one instruction, and the small class sizes mean the children get individualized attention all day. This is especially helpful when kids don’t understand something. I know they’ll get the help they need.”
The small class sizes and individualized attention were especially helpful this past spring, during the COVID-19 school shutdown. Jackeline explains, “When classes were online, Seeds of Health Schools helped so much. The teachers had many one-to-one sessions with kids, to be sure they understood the material. This helped so much during that time.”
A push toward future success
Yanelly agrees with her mom. “I’m so glad I started with Seeds of Health and was pushed by my teachers and instructors in taekwondo. They always pushed me to my greatest limits, as did my parents. This encouragement got me to feel more confident, and then I wanted to try new things.” Some examples of Yanelly’s many successes include her academic excellence as well as her participation in the Yearbook Club, Student Council, STEM Club, and Student Advisory. With the support of her parents, teachers at SOH, and instructors at taekwondo, it seems that Yanelly is unstoppable. In the future, she hopes to apply her love of math, science, and art in a career like architecture. With such a fine team supporting her, it is no doubt that Yanelly – as well as her brother, younger sister, cousins and other SOH friends – will go on to similar future successes.
Regardless of where a student is on their K4-12 educational journey, Seeds of Health has a place for your child. Enrollment is now underway for fall, with openings at the new Tenor High School on South 1st Street as well as Seeds of Health Elementary at 1445 S 32nd St. Rest assured that Seeds of Health prioritizes the safety and health of your child and family considering COVID-19. We are revamping our procedures and policies as well as our buildings to follow CDC and DPI guidelines for schools and create safe learning opportunities for your children. We continue to closely monitor the situation and work to inform our families of changing school protocols and procedures as the COVID-19 situation evolves. For additional information on openings at Seeds of Health Schools, Maria Gonzalez Hurtado can be contacted at 414-385-5660.
Like this story? There’s a video version! See Mariella Godinez- Munoz’s video interview of Jackeline and Yanelly and their experiences with Seeds of Health Schools on the Facebook page of Hoy Wisconsin Today from June 30, 2020 (https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=192617748843997).