On May 4, 2023, at only 18 years old, Krystal Guerrero nervously walked across the stage at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, Fla., to receive her associate’s degree. A few weeks later, she would also officially graduate from high school – making her the first in her family to do so. While these accomplishments are a result of Krystal’s determination and hard work, she credits the AAA Scholarship Foundation for giving her the opportunity to achieve these goals.
“AAA Scholarship Foundation paved the way for my education,” says Krystal. “If it were not for AAA, I would not have accomplished any of the things I did. To this day, I am so very thankful to all of the AAA donors!”
Krystal is the eldest daughter of Juan and Jelen Guerrero and the big sister to Paola, Genesis and Juan Jr. Juan Sr. began working at the young age of 14 to help his parents financially, and neither he nor Jelen was able to finish high school. Juan and Jelen were determined to provide Krystal and her siblings with opportunities they did not have – which often meant putting in long hours of hard work and making sacrifices along the way.
When Krystal started elementary school, despite her natural determination to succeed, she faced several challenges. Coming from a primarily Spanish-speaking household, daily interactions with teachers and peers were often difficult and she struggled to keep up in school. Even after switching to a different public school, she fell further behind because she was not receiving the help she needed. Desperate for a solution, her parents explored every option that was available and landed on Robert F. Munroe Day School, where the dedicated teachers, family-like environment and array of educational opportunities was the perfect fit for Krystal and her siblings. AAA Scholarships made it possible for the hard-working Guerrero family to afford the tuition.
During her time at Munroe Day School, Krystal blossomed as she realized her full potential and began to set goals for her future. By the time she reached 11th grade, she began taking college-level classes through the dual-enrollment program at Tallahassee Community College (TCC).
“Because families aren’t charged for dual-enrollment courses, it helped my parents financially and allowed me to get a jumpstart on my goal of becoming a nurse,” says Krystal.
For her last two years of high school, Krystal was able to complete all of her pre-requisite classes for nursing school and by the end of her senior year, she earned her associate’s degree a few weeks before she walked across the stage to receive her high school diploma. She admits it was tough, but her family helped her to push through.
“My parents have always been my motivation,” says Krystal. “All my hard work and dedication was to make them proud. They always encourage me to follow my dreams and I really could not have done it without them.”
As if her academic achievements were not enough, Krystal also played on Munroe’s volleyball team and completed community service work through the school’s Anchor Club. Additionally, she participated in Munroe’s Beta Club and student council, as well as TCC’s National Society of Leadership and Success, and earned a spot on the dean’s and president’s lists at TCC. During her senior year, she also ran for Miss Munroe Court, an event that recognizes a select group of senior girls for their involvement in various life organizations at the school, taking into consideration GPA, extracurriculars and future goals.
Not only did she win, but she became the first Hispanic Miss Munroe and was recognized in the local newspaper for this achievement. “I am so incredibly proud of myself for accomplishing things that I thought were impossible,” says Krystal. “I broke barriers in my school. Being Miss Munroe is an honor.”
After applying to and being accepted into several colleges and universities – both near and far – Krystal had a tough decision to make. She ultimately decided to stick close to home and is currently attending the Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education at TCC to accomplish her goal of becoming a registered nurse.
“It was not an easy decision, but my heart told me that I needed to stay close to home,” explains Krystal. “I am very family oriented and I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my little siblings. They always depend on me, and secretly, I depend on them as well. I now know that it was the best decision I could have possibly made. I absolutely love the program I am in and TCC is the perfect place for me.”
With a current graduation year set for 2025, Krystal is well on her way to achieving yet another goal and is already making future plans, which include working at one of the local hospitals for at least two years before becoming a travel nurse to explore new places outside of Florida while pursuing her passion in healthcare.
About AAA Scholarship Foundation
AAA Scholarship Foundation promotes the advancement of education by administering educational choice programs. The typical AAA Scholarship student is an ethnic minority living with a struggling single parent/caregiver in a high crime community. More than 80 percent of these children are initially awarded AAA scholarships while living in households with annual incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Many are either below grade level, failing at their previous school or both when they first receive a scholarship. Parents, who find their children in these circumstances and are concerned about their future, look for viable options. They seek an atmosphere that challenges their children and will reverse inadequate learning, social patterns and potential lifelong negative impacts. They wish to change their children’s learning environment, acquaintances and the unfortunate predictable outcomes associated with school failure.
AAA Scholarships are funded in Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Nevada by companies that redirect a portion of their state tax liability to the AAA Scholarship Foundation in exchange for a dollar-for-dollar tax credit. AAA Scholarship Foundation is one of the only 501(c)(3) nonprofit scholarship organizations approved to administer these legislatively authorized tax credit scholarship programs in multiple states. AAA Scholarship Foundation provides your company with the convenience and efficiency of a single solution for participating in multiple state tax credit scholarship programs. For more information, or to learn how your company can participate in the program, visit www.AAAScholarships.org, or contact Kerri Vaughan at kerri @ aaascholarships.org or 888-707-2465 ext. 730.