Citrus Stories: Gina Rivera

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Meet Gina, a recent graduate from the University of Central Florida who found confidence, initiative, and a role model through her experience as a Girl Scout.

Gina recently graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She was also recognized with one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a college graduate; graduating Summa Cum Laude.

Graduating Summa Cum Laude was not an easy feat. Gina dual enrolled in college courses while in high school to obtain her Associates degree, graduating with a 4.2 GPA.

How did she do it? Gina credits much of her success to her experience in Girl Scouts.

Gina began her Girl Scout experience in the 6th grade through the Get Real! mentoring program. As she became more confident and outgoing, Gina became more involved in school activities. In the face of adversity, Gina often drew from this experience and support to take action.

“My Girl Scout experience showed me that anything I dreamt of doing, I could accomplish… how to believe in myself and reach my full potential. Girl Scouts helped me take more of an initiative… to take action and lead when needed.”

Throughout her time at Girl Scouts, Gina mentioned a role model that continuously believed in her and supported her throughout middle school and high school, Cecilia Scott, the Director of Grant Programs at Girl Scouts of Citrus.

To Gina and her troop, they just know her as Miss Cece.

“Miss Cece has had such a positive impact on my life, that I probably wouldn’t be who I am and where I am, if I hadn’t met her. She has taught me to love myself for who I am and that I can become someone in life.”

When Gina graduated high school, Miss Cece gave her a book of quotes that to this day, she keeps at her desk. “I read it when I need encouragement, because it is as if [Miss Cece] is saying it. She is selfless and has the ability to overcome obstacles… and has inspired me to do the same.”

Gina plans to continue her education and obtain a Masters in criminal justice from UCF. Afterwards, she seeks to go further and obtain her PhD.

“I want to continue graduating with high honors and serve as a model for my siblings, and for other girls around the world.”