High School Senior Completes Mentorship Despite Roadblocks

High School Senior Completes Mentorship Despite Roadblocks

Jenelle Esparza, Museum Educator, Family Experiences

This year has been incredibly tough for young people who are navigating a world where the future holds so much uncertainty. I want to talk about the strength and talent that I witnessed in one young woman during her senior year mentorship.

Rose Esquivel from Harlan High School joined the McNay Teen Art Guide program before reaching out to the education department about a mentorship. Her interest in art drew her to seek a mentor at the Museum. She was excited to work with an institution where she and her family had enjoyed many memorable experiences.

Rose was accepted into the Independent Study Mentorship (ISM) program at Harlan, which is a competitive career-focused intensive. The program prepares students by requiring them to work independently—often for the first time, to research a field of their choice, and develop a final project that demonstrates what they have learned.

Rose and I crossed paths when she became interested in art education as a career path. I saw right away that she was a remarkable student. She was organized, punctual, innovative, full of imaginative ideas, and very active as she visited the Museum 3-4 times a month, well over the requirements of her program. She regularly attended and helped out with my monthly programs and also toured the Museum with me and by herself to familiarize herself with our collection.

Pre-Covid, Rose and I had developed a final plan for the ISM. Rose would lead a tour (for the very first time) for her ISM peers and instructor. She developed an art workshop to conduct after the tour to further explore the theme. Rose created a complete museum experience with surveys and data capturing upon completion. I was in awe of her creativity and work ethic.

The date of the program was mid-April just after students returned from Spring Break. The looming pandemic would result in no return to school, quarantine, and all her hard work abruptly cancelled. As the world navigated how to function and our plans floated in limbo, students and educators were tasked with restructuring our methods of teaching and learning virtually.

After a necessary adjustment period, Rose created an online virtual experience that explored the importance of the spaces we inhabit by educating on the impact installation art. She created her own website to house an introduction to installation art including the work of three contemporary artists. To make the learning hands on, Rose devised unique art projects that utilized materials easily found at home.

Once again, I was amazed at Rose’s ingenuity and innovation to pull through this difficult experience with flying colors. She will carry this strength and courage throughout life and I cannot wait to see all that she will become.

Congratulations! Hats off to Rose and the graduating Teen Art Guide seniors!