A Saydel High School student’s journey after moving to Iowa has proven an inspiration to her alma mater as she prepares for the next big step in her life.
Anahi Ramos Beltran of Des Moines graduated Sunday after arriving in Iowa at age 12 and knowing very little English. She was born in northern Mexico and her father decided to bring the family to Iowa after working in the state for a long time.
Ramos Beltran had a lot to learn, including the English language, starting with words in first grade and sentences in second grade, all linked through practice with teachers, books, audio and other classmates from classroom. The move was difficult at first because Ramos Beltran didn’t know anyone in Iowa, but she said the experience helped her grow as a person.
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She soon became involved in school activities and participated in tennis, the National Honor Society, soccer, cheerleading, and the art club. Now, Ramos Beltran is set to attend the University of Northern Iowa on a scholarship for graphic design.
“People should believe in themselves and try every time,” Ramos Beltran said. “You always have an option.”
Much of Ramos Beltran’s art permeates Mexican culture as a representation of his heritage. She likes to use acrylic paint and gold leaf, and she does a lot of abstract work.
Ramos Beltran’s teachers helped her research where to go to college, before her decision to attend UNI and get the scholarship, and her parents are proud of her degree. She described her high school experience as “unexpected,” with lots of transitions and not knowing what was going to happen next.
His experience had an impact on those around him in Saydel.
“Anahi is one of the most thoughtful students I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Principal Kevin Schulte said. “Furthermore, she has worked extremely hard and her efforts are producing great results. She is a wonderful example of the ability to navigate difficult circumstances to produce great results for herself and for others around her.”
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Ramos Beltran’s art was highlighted earlier this year on a UNI Facebook page that features outstanding work by Iowa students. Lindsay Dew, her art teacher, said Ramos Beltran “has an amazing way of taking the world and observations around her and combining them into her projects”, with her Latino heritage and love of music being among his greatest inspirations.
“Her flexibility in life and use of media will allow her to advance far in her artistic career,” Dew said in a post.
Ramos Beltran said she was inspired by Dew, who earned a degree in graphic design before becoming a teacher. She said she wanted to follow a similar path.