LOS ANGELES – It isn’t the senior year Nancy Navarro daydreamed about.  

What You Need To Know

  • Nancy Navarro is celebrating her journey to graduation

  • She has had to overcome bullying and judgment

  • Her veil is a symbol of her religion and humility before God

  • This fall she will be heading to Cal State Long Beach

In addition to missing the one-on-one instruction she loved getting from her teachers at Wallis Annenberg High School, she feels like a piece of her graduating experience was taken from her.

“Prom, graduation, all of those things, they’re like the highlight of the entire high school year. So not being able to do that, not being able to be a part of that actually makes everything more heartbreaking,” Navarro said.  

Having to adjust to a virtual final semester isn’t Navarro’s first setback. Her 2020 graduation isn’t just about celebrating her academic achievement, but the journey she endured to get here. A journey of accepting herself and what makes her different, even when others haven’t.

“I just didn’t like being seen as the outcast. Being who I am makes me unique,” Navarro said. “And I think it’s better to call me unique than weird.”

Like many teens across the country, Navarro has had to overcome bullying and judgment.  

The beautiful white veil she wears over her head was sewn by her mom and is a symbol of her religion and humility before God. But it’s a symbol that hasn’t always been accepted or respected by her peers and the bullying at times took a toll.

“In the beginning it made me feel weaker or inferior to them,” Navarro said. “But I guess because of the experience it made me more empowered and feel, like, stronger. And you know have the courage to say I belong here.”

Navarro shares her home with six other siblings and their parents and is the first in her family to attend college.

Despite the obstacles of remote learning, her school’s online education platform, Winward Academy, tells us her scores in math and English have increased by 30 percent.

“The effort has paid off,” Navarro said.

This fall she will be heading to Cal State Long Beach and the only graduation gift she is hoping for is that her parents and siblings are proud of her.

“There haven’t been too many proud moments for them. My happiness accounts toward them so if I’m happy they’re happy and if they’re happy, I’m happy,” Navarro said.