Someone 2 Know: Tatiana Gudiel-Carranza - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Someone 2 Know: Tatiana Gudiel-Carranza

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Achievement Beyond Obstacles is a leadership program, run by Reno and Sparks Rotary Clubs, for high school students who have triumphed over hardships. 

The Rotary Clubs recently honored dozens of local teenagers who were nominated to receive scholarships in the program. But one teenager stood out among the group.

18-year-old Tatiana Gudiel-Carranza is very private about her life, but recently shared her story - and we caught up with her at school.

The Sparks High School senior has been called a model student. "I like learning, especially when it's a challenge. I don't like getting bored, so sometimes my teachers will challenge me or give me something really hard and I'm like, ‘yes’!" says Tatiana.

The teenager is heading to the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall to major in journalism.

Tati says she loves hearing people’s personal stories. "I've interviewed a couple of friends and heard about their lives and I was just so amazed by it."

But really it's Tatiana’s story that is amazing - and you wouldn't know it by watching her smiling and talking with friends in the hallway. "By government definition, I am qualified as homeless," she says quietly, talking through the lump in her throat.

Sparks High Principal Kevin Carroll has known Tati since middle school, and admires her grit; "…just seeing her persevere through some tough times...and really have a focus on school."

After years of enduring a severely troubled home-life, Tatiana spent some time coach-surfing and now lives with a friend. Last year, the teenager joined the Achievement Beyond Obstacles program.

Sparks Rotary member Chuck Flagg explains. "The idea behind it is anybody can just accept money and have a nice day and be done, we stick with them, we have mentoring, we have leadership weekends, teach them life skills." Flagg has been Tatiana’s sponsor since last year.

Tatiana will have a sponsor and mentor through college and beyond. This past month the teenager was awarded the largest scholarship from the Rotary's Achievement Beyond Obstacles program. It made a world of difference to Tatiana. "It means a lot, because, it meant people were recognizing - not just seeing me as a victim - but seeing the victories I'm getting."

Mr. Carroll knows the awards and recognition don’t come easy. "The ones who are real successful are the ones that wanna be at school that wanna learn, wanna be part of the school community."

Tatiana has used the leadership lessons from Rotary and her own fierce will to get herself through the painful times and hopes other young people facing obstacles will do the same. "Make it the reason why you're gonna get more successful, show them that your gonna be something else, you're gonna be a person out there who has a name in the world."

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