Senior Spotlight: Giselle Padilla-Esquivel

Giselle and her twin sister, Ailyn, grew up at The Potter’s House (TPH). Living in the Roosevelt Park Community, their family was already familiar with the school and felt that it would be a good fit for the twins. The newly enrolled preschoolers did not speak English, but TPH provided time and resources for them to learn the language and much more. Giselle shares her story:

Several teachers [at TPH] poured into our learning. Former paraprofessional Mrs. Lugo would speak Spanish to us and translate. Former kindergarten teacher Mrs. Murray was very involved in our lives and treated us well. Reading specialist Mrs. DeJong was great and we loved talking to her. By 4th grade we had learned enough English to test out of ESL and join regular classes. Our reading and grammar scores were always high on standardized tests.

We had many opportunities for learning from elementary through high school. I remember science camp, track and field days, field trips, MLK Jr. Day celebrations, writing books, and volunteering, just to name a few. Our cousins, who attended other schools, were often jealous because of the variety of things we were able to do. Our parents never had such opportunities and reminded us of how blessed we were.

I believe in God and never questioned my faith; however, The Potter’s House helped to strengthen my relationship with God. In the middle school Discipleship program, we heard about other people’s stories from all over the world, and we prayed for others. The same was true of Anchor Worship [the school’s chapel time]. Teachers also prayed for me and I felt comfortable talking about my faith.

TPH has provided a great education, abundant opportunities, and spiritual formation for my sister and me. At the same time, the school has helped our parents to grow. As we were learning English, our mom was learning it through us (today she speaks English fluently). Prior to us coming to TPH, our parents were closed-minded and fearful of different cultures. At TPH, we were always learning about other cultures through activities and projects, so when we would come home and share with our mom, she would be interested. Our parents have become less afraid to connect with other cultures, and now see the world differently.

Since I was little, I always wanted to do something in the medical field, but I never knew what. My oldest sister has Prader Willi Syndrome and Scoliosis. She has had several major back surgeries over the years. Sometimes, Ailyn and I would go along on appointments at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. We met many doctors, and I was inspired by those who worked with the bones and the spine. It wasn’t until high school that I knew I wanted to become an Orthopedic Surgeon.

To pursue this goal, I plan to attend Grand Canyon University in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology with emphasis in pre-med.