Gonzalo Gutierrez is a student leader who understands the value of community service. He has personally experienced the hardships of being a minority, first-generation student. He has worked his way through school, earning money to support his family and pay for his education. His passion is to assist other students in eliminating obstacles to reaching their goals.
He serves as a role model and living proof of the benefits of becoming a student leader while networking with community leaders. A tireless advocate and mentor of first-time-in-college (FTIC) students, Gonzalo also volunteers to speak at high schools and middle schools about the importance of education, career readiness, and internships. He helps Spanish-speaking students who have difficulty with their studies. As a second-year intern in the LEGOLAND Co-Op program, Gonzalez guides first-year students while they learn to navigate their desire to finish their education with the realities of working a job.
Gonzalo routinely plans educational events for both students and community leaders which raise awareness about concerns, such as homelessness, hunger, domestic violence, drugs, bullying, LGBT issues, and health concerns which directly affect our community.
When I was five, I moved to the United States from Mexico, learned English, and excelled in school. My public high school experience presented some bullying challenges, but fortunately I was accepted into the Polk State Collegiate High School-an outstanding educational environment with much higher expectations and standards. One of the main requirements was community service. Exploring my options made me realize how much need there was in our surrounding community. I started thinking about others and wanting to help. I started a Key Club to help my peers discover the many benefits of volunteering, such as service to the community, learning opportunities, and networking with local business leaders. Passionate about first-generation students, I became a peer mentor for 20 first-time-in-college students, started presenting at high schools, and tutored Hispanic students at my former middle school who were falling behind because of language issues. In 2016-17, I became the President of the Polk State Winter Haven Student Government Association and am working with my peers to advocate for student rights and promote community service and continued education while raising awareness about a variety of issues, such as homelessness, hunger, drug abuse, domestic violence, LGBT rights, cyber-bullying, cancer, and more.