Into the Spotlight Chavez overcomes shyness to lead student body

Ana Chavez is serving her first term as president of the Student Government Association.
Ana Chavez is serving her first term as president of the Student Government Association.
Ana Chavez is serving her first term as president of the Student Government Association.
BY KEVIN CUSHINGBERRY JR., EDITOR IN CHIEF

Ana Chavez has won every election she’s been a part of since coming to Eastfield.

She has held two terms as secretary and is now president of the Student Government Association. She’s a STEM scholar. She’s in Phi Theta Kappa, LULAC, Rotarac and CAB. She even played two years of soccer for the Lady Harvesters and is a member of the Salsa Club.

Judging by her involvement, it would seem she’s a pro on the campaign trail. However, things weren’t always that way.

“When I was in seventh grade, I ran for president of my class,” Chavez said. “I lost to my friend because she was more outgoing.”

Although she wasn’t as outgoing as some, Chavez said she always knew she wanted to get involved. In elementary school she joined Girl Scouts and became co-secretary. Then she was the freshman class secretary at Skyline High School, she was elected to the student council throughout high school, but she was uncomfortable talking to people she didn’t know well.

“I’ve always had leadership positions,” she said. “It’s just that when we would give speeches and things, I would be real nervous.”

After enrolling at Eastfield, Chavez saw an SGA flyer and decided to apply for secretary. SGA applicants have to collect 10 signatures from the student body in order to have their name placed on any ballot. Chavez knew she had to become more sociable.

“I was still super shy,” she said. “I didn’t know anyone. I had to force myself to talk.”

Chavez got the 10 signatures and won the election.

Chavez said the 2011 SGA President Nick Hernandez helped her grow as a leader and as a communicator.

“My first year, we built a good foundation,” Chavez said. “I learned that my responsibilities were important.”

Student Life Director Judy Schwartz said Chavez contributed a lot as a new officer.

“We had a great group of leaders and Ana fit right in,” Schwartz said. “She’s friendly, she’s outgoing, and she really cares about students.”

Hernandez encouraged Chavez to reapply for the secretary position in 2012. She became the Texas Junior College Student Government Association Region II public relations representative and represented the region’s 12-member colleges at the state SGA convention in Austin.

“I met all of the SGA presidents from around our region,” Chavez said. “I saw how they worked, and I decided I wanted to run for president.”

Chavez said her first two years at Eastfield helped build her courage to run. She felt like she knew what the job would entail.

“I was campaigning, getting my face out there,” Chavez said. “I was going to all my classmates asking them to vote for me.”

Last spring, Chavez was elected president.

“I was like ‘no way,’” she said. “I was so excited.”

SGA officers will attend the Harvester Leadership Retreat this weekend. Chavez said she hopes members will bond and get to know each other on the trip. The retreat will include leadership and communication workshops and instruction about parliamentarian procedure.

Chavez said SGA is focusing more on student issues this year. They are conducting more student surveys and one-on-one meetings with students. The first SGA general meeting is scheduled for Oct. 11, and there will also be an open forum for students from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 13.

SGA Parliamentarian Jesus Castillo said he has seen Chavez’s commitment to the organization.

“She’s going to push us forward as a president,” Castillo said. “Knowing her, she’s going to follow through on whatever she says. If she says ‘I’ll be there,’ she’ll be there. She really commits to what she does.”

After Eastfield, Chavez plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. She believes her leadership and communication skills will allow her to be successful in that field.

“When you’re involved you get exposed to all these professionals,” Chavez said. “You build connections and networks.”

Chavez said she tries to help her friends get involved because when they’re applying for scholarships schools will want to know about extracurricular activities.

SGA Vice President Jasmine Chavez said she sees Ana as a mentor. She even decided to follow in her footsteps by choosing civil engineering as her future major.

“I’m new to this and Ana’s advice has given me a lot more confidence,” Chavez said.

The once-shy student has broken out of her shell. She is now one of the most involved students on campus.

“People tell me ‘You’re always everywhere,’” Chavez said. “And I’m like ‘yeah, I’m in school. That’s what I do.’”

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