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Small town girl with big dreams

Senior plans new life in New York City

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Senior Nashla Beltran Benitez longs to see the bright LED lights that shine with advertisements in Time Square, to hear the yellow taxi cab horn on 43rd street that blares at the busy construction workers, to walk on Broadway and to take in the city. Moving to New York City will make her dream to live in the Big Apple become a reality.
“New York is so special to me,” Beltran Benitez said. “I feel like I have so much to offer.”

• • •

Beltran Benitez is focused on her dream of moving cross country. To study for her classes, she goes to the library during lunch. While students make their way through the double doors and into cafeteria, Beltran Benitez cuts away from the crowd. Pulling on the wooden library door, her warm hand meets the cold steel handle. The library is silent, and she takes a seat at the first row of tables and chairs. Beltran Benitez takes out her Macbook laptop covered in stickers and scatters her third period homework all over the white table top.
The bell rings and Beltran Benitez walks down the hallway to her fourth period. Drill team Director Alice Dack greets her with a warm smile as she walks in to the gym behind her fellow Marquettes. Dack says Beltran Benitez is a hardworking and caring student. She’s impressed with her constant dedication to go above and beyond. Working three jobs while also being a Marquette puts into perspective for Dack how mature Beltran Benitez is for her age.
“She is already living in this adult world where she is taking care of herself,” Dack said. “She has already moved beyond all of us in maturity and in life experience.”

• • •

School is over and Beltran Benitez heads home to prepare to work her shift at Zumiez—one of her three jobs. Beltran Benitez also works at Bay 34th Street Pizzeria and a bakery in Addison. She hopes to make enough money to live in New York City and pursue her dreams of becoming a broadcast journalist.

 

New York right now is the beginning of my life, its [going to be] the starting of my career.

— Nashla Beltran Benitez

“What I want to do and what I want to achieve in my life, it’s not going to happen in Texas,” Beltran Benitez said. “I know I’ll feel so much more comfortable being in New York.” Later at work, Beltran Benitez finds herself in a constant climbing motion as she climbs up a steel ladder in the Zumiez skate shop. She cradles a brown Vans shoe box containing a brand new pair of baby blue Vans. Carefully, she places the box on the top shelf and takes a glance around the shop as she starts to day dream. Closing her eyes, Beltran Benitez imagines the smell of the New York air. She can hear the rustle of busy New York shoppers passing by her on the street, and when she returns back to her present surroundings, a wide smile stretches across her face.

• • •

Beltran Benitez is just a senior, but she is determined to live in the big city. She has flown to New York every year to visit her aunt Darcie Burgos and other relatives since she was four years old. Her aunt has been her only support system 1300 miles away. Beltran Benitez plans to live with her aunt and take a gap year after high school, so she can work full time and support herself in New York. Last year while visiting family, she filled out an application for a position at Zumiez on 15 West and 34 Street. A few days later, she went to her interview.
Walking confidently into the skate shop, Beltran Benitez’ pulse thumps in her ears, and nervousness washes over her. The district manager greets her at the front of the store. She sits down at the conference room table and answers interview questions—each more intricate than the last. Beltran Benitez feels like the world has been lifted off her shoulders when she’s told that the new assistant manager position is hers.With bags packed and job offers waiting, she’s ready to forge a new path to success. Beltran Benitez looks forward to the journey ahead.
“New York right now is the beginning of my life,” Beltran Benitez said “It’s [going to be] the starting of my career.”

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Small town girl with big dreams