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Estelle Sevilla ’23: Redefining Leadership through Community and Service
Auden Salazar

Left: Estelle Sevilla ’23 and her parents and Panther alumni, Jorge ’88 and Shannon ’88, pose after the Senior Awards Assembly.

Estelle Sevilla ’23 once held a conventional view of leadership, associating it with academic achievements and extracurricular titles. However, her experience at Prep challenged this, revealing that true leadership is a cocktail of service, dedication and a minion costume – but we’ll get to that later. 

Once a Panther, Always a Panther

Born to proud Prep alums (Jorge ’88 and Shannon (Moran) ’88), Estelle is a Panther through and through. When given the opportunity to speak on her experience at Prep, you’ll find at the core of her story the values of community and culture. She reminisces on the shared experiences with her classmates on class retreats and how, through these shared experiences, she learned to understand the power of her community and her place in it. 

Advocating for Meaningful Service

As a first-year student, there is nothing more exciting than a club fair. Booths upon booths of opportunity and untapped potential and it’s here that Estelle found the Global Justice Coalition (GJC), a cohort of students driven to organize and advocate for pressing issues on both a local and global level. Enter the pandemic, bringing major disruptions and uncertainty. As community service efforts adapted to a socially distanced world, Estelle saw an opportunity to advocate for a change in how service is conducted at Prep – to do away with service hour requirements. In her words “taking away that requirement, especially for high school students, gives them more freedom and more of a choice to pursue a service project that they’re actually going to be interested in and that will actually have an impact on them, instead of just seeing it as a school requirement that they need to fulfill.“ She brought this idea to Christian Service Director William Liu, who adopted this innovative approach, hoping to inspire more students to serve. 

Leadership in Action – Peace and Justice Week

Estelle took on a larger leadership role within GJC and helped coordinate Peace and Justice Week both her junior and senior year. The overarching theme this year was Restorative Justice. “We worked on having guest speakers, putting on different activities for students like voter registration, doing a Q&A documentary series and having the director come in, and then we sent letters to one of our representatives about Washington State’s policies on the criminal justice system.” This year, Estelle and GJC took it a step further. Inspired by a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice, the group wanted to continue the theme of restorative justice but include issues they learned about at the conference. These included climate activism, mental health awareness and restoring identities with ethnic-interest groups like the Black Student Union, Latinx Club and the Asian-American Pacific Islander Club, where she held a position as board member. 

Uplifting Community

Each year, Community Ministry hosts a freshman retreat that takes on the theme of an animated movie. Estelle decided to take on a role in the retreat. She recalls her own freshman retreat themed after the 2005 blockbuster, Madagascar, and the role it played in introducing her to service, fun and faith at Prep as well as a catalyst for bonding with her classmates. So, as a senior she volunteered to be a rector. In this role, Estelle understood it was her responsibility to make the frosh feel welcome, which is why she, along with Brian Mack, Aara Meas and a few others, thought it might be fun to dress up as characters from the 2015 animated hit, Minions. Despite the costume impairing her vision and not fitting properly, Estelle expressed how excited she felt to contribute positively to the underclassmen’s introduction to life and service at Prep, even if it was just through wearing a silly costume to try to get some laughs. Chosen as the recipient for the 2023 Christian Service Award, Estelle leaves an indelible impact on the Prep Community. 

Onward

For her compassionate spirit and infectious laugh, Estelle was also awarded the senior superlative for best laugh in this year’s yearbook. Her palpable passion for community, service and inclusivity illustrates the leader she is at heart and will propel her forward as she embarks on a new journey at George Washington University this fall. Estelle leaves with the knowledge that the true essence of leadership is not a title or a rank, but a service to be given. 

  • christian service
  • community
  • leadership

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Lisa Fernandez, Director of Communications & Marketing