ACE Alumni, Carla Villegas, embodies hard work and success
Graduate. Business Owner. Student. Tutor. Mother. These are just a few words to describe the brilliant Carla Villegas.
Carla’s story began at her West Denver neighborhood school, Eagleton Elementary. The classrooms were crowded and many kids were falling behind but Carla quickly excelled. She outperformed her classmates but as school progressed, was left unchallenged and began to disengage. Carla’s parents grew frustrated with her environment but thought public school was their only option.
When it came time for Carla to go to middle school, her teacher told her family they had choices and recommended they explore private school options. Her family knew they could not afford the tuition until her teacher introduced them to ACE Scholarships. “It opened doors I didn’t know were even possible,” Carla said.
Carla attended middle school at Presentation of Our Lady and immediately noticed the differences in class sizes, individualized attention, and teaching style to complement student’s strengths and weaknesses.
Carla’s family was grateful for organizations like ACE Scholarships that offered support for their family. When it came time that Carla needed braces, her parents discovered another great program offered by undergraduate students at the Anschutz Medical campus. Carla was one of the first trial patients to participate in the program. She left the dentist chair with discounted braces and dreams of being a medical student herself. From that moment, she wanted to go to college and pursue a career in dentistry.
She continued her private education at Machebeuf High School with the expectation of college and the surprise of meeting future husband, Marcos. They graduated high school, got married, and took over the family restaurant. Meanwhile, they started college together and soon found out they were expecting a child.
She was recently accepted to the prestigious Anschutz Medical Campus Undergraduate Pre-Health Program (UPP), and tutor’s students in Anatomy in her spare time. She also serves as an active member of the ACE Alumni Board because she understands the value of ACE in the life of a child. Carla believes that without ACE, she would not have been instilled with dreams of college, a career, or the courage to challenge the status quo.
With each month, Carla comes closer to achieving her dream of being a dentist – she plans to one day serve the community where she grew up, focusing on dental hygiene and the importance of good oral health.
More than inspiring her community, Carla wants to inspire her young son, Santiago. Like most parents, Carla wants for her child to have every opportunity possible, and to believe that his dreams are within reach. “If my son wants to be a doctor, he can say, ‘My mommy is a doctor, so I can be one too!’ or ‘My daddy is a business owner, so I can be one too!’”
Graduate. Business Owner. Student. Tutor. Mother. Alumni board member. Future Dentist. Leader. Just a few words to describe a young person who was given an opportunity to live out her full potential.
To learn more about the UPP program, click here: