Great Graduates 2020: Isabella Garcia

Garcia intends to go to UT-Austin to become a physical therapist

Getting to this moment has not been an easy journey for the Garcia family, as just a few years ago Isabella Garcia and her family lost her sister, Ariana.

SAN ANTONIO – In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, students across the country are distance-learning and high school seniors are participating in virtual graduations.

The pandemic, however, will not stop KSAT12 from highlighting students in and around San Antonio who have gone above and beyond.

One such student is Isabella Garcia, of the Southside Independent School District.

Getting to this moment has not been an easy journey for the Garcia family, as just a few years ago Isabella and her family lost her sister, Ariana.

“We had four kids, one of them passed away, which was Ariana,” Fernando Garcias, Isabella’s father said. “She was diagnosed with a rare neurological brain disorder, she wasn’t expected to live past three-years-old, but we ended up having her around for a blessed 9 1/2 years."

“It was devastating whenever she passed away, but now we do believe she is in a better place,” Isabella said.

Through time spent with the family, one could tell they are a tight-knit group, and Isabella’s father put it best when he said, “Family first, everything else second."

Now, Isabella uses her sister and her family as a form of motivation, especially when it comes to her academic goals.

“She has really inspired me to stay strong and to make my whole life about caring for children like her,” Isabella said.

Because of her hard work, her perseverance and her tenacity, Isabella earned a $40,000 scholarship after being selected as one out of 275,000 students who applied.

Teachers and faculty members at Southside High School called Isabella a pure inspiration for students and other members of the community, and to that, Isabella has a few words of wisdom.

“Everything happens for a reason and as long as they put themselves out there, as long as they stay strong in their own faith, then I think they can do whatever they want,” Isabella said.

This fall, Isabella plans to be a University of Texas student, but whether she is on the UT campus is dependent on the pandemic. She knows she will be a longhorn, and that it’s another step towards her ultimate goal to become a physical therapist for special-needs pediatrics.

"I can continue her legacy in a way, because she was so strong,” Isabella said.

About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.