Sandy Creek senior’s involvement makes her ready for future

During a chapel service Monday at Sandy Creek Christian Academy, prayers were offered for the six seniors.

On Saturday, the three boys and three girls will participate in graduation at The Tabernacle at Sandy Creek in Seymour.

Juleimy Alvarado, the salutatorian of the Class of 2022, said they are super excited to graduate and ready to move on to the next chapter in their lives.

“It just made me realize a year from now, we probably won’t be as close as we are now, so that kind of saddens me a little bit,” the 17-year-old said. “But I know that we’re so close that if I see them out there, it’s not just going to be a random stranger. It’s going to be like, ‘Oh, hey.’ We’ve always just been really tight, like family.”

Graduation starts at 2 p.m. The valedictorian is Noel Roll. Alvarado said they have been friends since she transferred to what was then known as Seymour Christian Academy when she started third grade.

One of the seniors came to the school this year, but the others have been super close since fourth grade, Alvarado said.

She switched to SCA from Seymour-Jackson Elementary School after someone talked to her mother about the Christian environment. Her two older brothers, Robert and Kevin, also started going to school there.

“The first thing I noticed was that everyone was welcoming,” Alvarado said. “Obviously, my first day here, I didn’t know anyone. … I was so nervous. I got there and my friend, Noel, was the first one, she was like, ‘Hey, what’s your name?’ I was like, ‘Juleimy.’ That was just really welcoming, for sure.”

Alvarado became a student council class representative in fifth grade and has remained involved ever since. That group is in charge of spirit week, unity chapel for the whole school K-12 and the fall festival. This past winter, they also organized a Grinch-themed Christmas day for the whole school.

“I definitely like the fact that there are so many different personalities, and so it helped me to get along with each and every one of those personalities that was there,” she said of student council.

“Also, it was just a way to bring the whole school together, so it’s not just high school and it’s not just the seniors, the juniors. It’s the whole school combined,” she said. “So I think that was really special because it made people feel more involved, and it also made me want to be more of a leader and step up. For sure, that helped me.”

She also has been involved in Turning Point USA, choir and Delta Crew. Turning Point USA is an American nonprofit organization that advocates for conservative values on high school, college and university campuses, and Alvarado has been vice president of the SCCA group her junior and senior years. Delta Crew sees what needs there are in the school and community and helps fill them.

Outside of school, Alvarado has been a member of the Working for Our Dreams 4-H Club since her freshman year, and she’s very active in her church, The Tabernacle at Sandy Creek, including the El Refugio outreach program for Hispanic kids.

Earning the title of salutatorian, it’s evident academics have always been important to Alvarado, and she said SCCA has offered an environment in which to succeed.

“You can only go as far as you think you can go, so if you think, ‘I’m not good enough,’ then you’re not good enough, but if you have this mindset where it’s like, ‘I’m going to get this,’ then you’re going to definitely get it,” she said. “It has been hard. Mostly this year has been academically hard for me, but I think with our teachers’ support, it has just been great.”

Even if she struggled with a certain subject, such as math, she never was scared to ask for help.

“I felt so comfortable with my teachers that it’s like, ‘It’s OK if you don’t get stuff because that’s why we’re here for you,’” she said. “This feels like home, and I just feel like when I did go through bad times in my life and I went through hard times, there was always this support here. I could always come back here and talk to one of my teachers about it, so it’s not just school. It’s like a support, too. It’s like a home, in a way.”

While she bragged on all of her teachers, one in particular, Misty Arrowood, received high praise.

“Last year was probably one of the mentally hardest times. I feel like I definitely wouldn’t have made it without Misty,” Alvarado said. “I just feel like she helped me so much. … She’s more than a teacher. She’s like a friend. When she could tell I wasn’t doing good some days, she would take it easy, and so I just really appreciated that. I feel like that’s something that not many kids can say.”

This year, Alvarado completed speech and English classes at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, and she plans to continue there after high school to earn a substance abuse counseling and prevention certificate and eventually wants to be a case worker. She also is applying to be a dispatcher at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, where Kevin works, to gain experience helping people.

“My main thing is social work. I feel like God has just really laid that on my heart, and so I want to do something with social work,” she said. “I just feel like there are so many people out there who need love, they want love and they are trying to find hope, and I feel like being a social worker, you can put such a great impact on their lives.”

She also wants to get more involved in her church and El Refugio, so she will try to balance that with work and school.

“I’m taking it one step at a time just to see where everything takes me,” she said. “Eventually, I want to do something to do with kids. They just have my heart. I love helping people. I just want to go wherever they need me the most. Wherever that is, I want to be there.”

Alvarado file 

Name: Juleimy Alvarado

Age: 17

Hometown: Seymour

Residence: Seymour

Education: Graduating from Sandy Creek Christian Academy in Seymour on Saturday

School activities: Student council, choir, Turning Point USA, Delta Crew

Other activities: Working for Our Dreams 4-H Club, church and El Refugio program at The Tabernacle at Sandy Creek

Occupation: Works at Little Angels Day Care in Seymour

Future plans: Pursue a substance abuse counseling and prevention certificate from Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus and work toward becoming a case worker

Family: Parents, Modesto and Raquel; brothers, Robert, 23, and Kevin, 21; sister, Rachel, 6

If you go 

What: Sandy Creek Christian Academy graduation

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Tabernacle at Sandy Creek, 5707 N. Sandy Creek Drive, Seymour

Who: 6 members of the Class of 2022

Valedictorian: Noel Roll

Salutatorian: Juleimy Alvarado