Fayte Gamez doesn’t even remember being put on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) when she was in kindergarten. But she does remember it being impossible to see letters in the same way her classmates did.
“Not a lot of people knew about it because I thought it was super embarrassing,” Fayte recalls, as she reminisces about struggling with reading and spelling as an elementary school student and learning she had dyslexia. She remembers how difficult it was to learn to read because she couldn’t tell the difference between lowercase Bs and Ds, and she didn’t want her classmates to find out what was happening.
Embracing Leadership and Overcoming Challenges
As a senior at Mountain View High School, Fayte learned to overcome her fears of not learning the same way others do, and it’s been years since she needed to be on an IEP. Fayte was captain of the MVHS cheer team and served as a peer buddy helping students with special needs. And though she didn’t necessarily have a goal of becoming a leader in school, she says the role just kind of came to her naturally.
“I never even tried to be viewed as a leader or role model,” Fayte says.
“I never tried, but I just did, and I found out I like being a leader for people and helping others.”
Fayte Gamez recalls being somewhat surprised to be elected as one of the captains of her cheer team as a junior.
“The team chose who the captains were, and I got the role,” she says. “I was very proud of myself for that.”
“Being the captain was very challenging, but I know I made an impact on a lot of those girls.”
For her senior year, Fayte was again chosen to be captain, and this time she felt even more comfortable and had a better idea of what to expect.
“I absolutely loved it,” she says. “There were a lot of girls who this was their first year in cheer, and some of them were really scared. I tried being a role model for them and slowly became really close to them. Now they are my best friends.
Building Strong Relationships and Finding Support
For Fayte Gamez, feeling like she could trust her friends and turn to them for support wasn’t always easy. After struggling to find a place where she felt like she fit in, Fayte decided she needed to make some changes.
“I knew I wanted to have fun my senior year and let go of all of the insecurities,” she says. “I struggled academically from my freshman year to the middle of my junior year. The relationships I was in dragged me down. I realized, I can do better than this. I know I can.”
Doing better meant working hard and overcoming her anxieties to challenge herself in school. Fayte enrolled in the Health Sciences Pathway at the Thompson Career Campus to study nursing.
“My goal is to graduate, get my diploma, and figure out how to adult by myself and get my RN license,” Fayte says. She plans to work in a hospital after she gets her nursing degree and wants to stay in Colorado. While the work hasn’t been easy, Fayte knows it is leading her down a path to success.
“Seeing my good grades helps me,” she says. “If I can do it now while I’m in high school with eight classes, I can do it in college.”
In the meantime, Fayte is enjoying feeling comfortable in her own skin.
“I’m much more outgoing than I was before,” Fayte says. “I used to be super shy and awkward. This year, I can talk to people more and I try to be more outgoing. I’m more myself because I don’t feel like I have to hide who I am.”
Portrait of a Graduate
Positively facilitates and contributes to teamwork