Natalie Gonzalez overcomes self-doubt and devastating COVID loss
Natalie Gonzalez is in the top 10 percent of her class, serves as a leader in several clubs and took all AP courses available to her at her school’s STEM Magnet program. But beneath the surface, she faced inner struggles that could have derailed her. Since an early age, Natalie has struggled with shyness and self-doubt. Determined to make a change, Natalie joined the tennis team in high school. Through every practice, every loss, and every win, Natalie’s confidence grew both on and off the court. This new resolve was tested last year with COVID-19. Not only did Natalie have to adapt to learning remotely, she also had to overcome the loss of her beloved grandfather who succumbed to the virus. Instead of allowing herself to grieve, Natalie shut her emotions off and distracted herself by over-performing in school. It took her several months to come to terms with his loss, but Natalie can now see how her struggles have taught her to be resilient, confident and persistent.