Homecoming queen a study in hope and optimism
By Chase Carter
Alejandrina Guzman, a senior at Azle High School, donned the crown and sash as the 2012 Homecoming Queen at the football halftime Oct. 26 – but the honor was only the most recent of many in the young girl’s life.
Those who don’t already know Guzman cannot miss her in the high school hallways. Between classes, she rides her motorized “purple bulldozer” wheelchair, followed by an entourage of friends.
Guzman was born with diastrophic dysplasia dwarfism, a genetic condition that affects her bone and cartilage development.
Because of the condition, she measures in at just over two feet and must use that motorized wheelchair to move around.
“I was pronounced technically dead at birth. For nine minutes I didn’t breathe, then I suddenly started,” said Guzman. “The doctors gave me 24 hours, then a week, then month and so on. I’m now 17 years old.”
Yet, none of that interrupts the perpetual smile on her face.
Friends describe Guzman as always happy, kind, friendly, and the soul of optimism. She is ranked eleventh in her class, and part of numerous school activities and organizations.
Last year, she was part of the homecoming attendants, but never imagined she would be nominated for queen.
“After the voting was done, a lot of people came up and told me they had voted for me. By the time they announced the nominations, I was not surprised to hear my name just by how many people had told me,” said Guzman.
According to her, even underclassmen she hadn’t met were coming up to her and wishing her good luck.
Following the outpouring that secured Mariah Slick’s homecoming queen selection in 2011, Guzman said rumors sprung up that she was asking for the same thing.
“That just isn’t true. I try to be as humble as I can and I hate bragging on myself, but the school and my peers truly wanted to see me nominated. It wasn’t a stunt or anything like that,” Guzman said.
Her family was both surprised and ecstatic over the nomination, and plans to secure a dress and car for the parade began immediately.
Her fellow nominees were all friends of Guzman, and they all shared the excitement and honor of being selected together.
Though her disability and “bulldozer” invariably pick her out of the crowd, both Guzman and her friends claim it’s the “goodness and honesty inside they recognize”.
Last year, she started a YouTube channel where she would upload inspirational and motivational videos for kids her age dealing with any kind of social anxiety or problems.
Though school, homecoming and college preparation have impeded any recent submissions, Guzman said she plans to return to them very soon.
“I want people to know their life matters to at least one other person. Our obstacles are all different, but the achievement and success felt by overcoming them is something everyone shares,” she said.
After graduating, Guzman plans to attend either the University of Texas in Austin or Texas Christian University to pursue a degree in law and French.
Her particular interest lies in immigration laws, and she hopes to find a career that lines up with that.
As number 11 out of 378 students, Guzman expressed a determined attitude in securing a position in the top 10 at graduation.
A member of the Rowdies, PALs, NHS, and student council, she keeps her days busy when not attending school.
Before the Homecoming game, Guzman displayed a gracious attitude toward the outcome of the election.
“If I don’t win, I’ll keep my head up and be happy for my friend who did. I’m just blessed to see a trend of students looking beyond the physicality outside and into the heart of a person and what he or she stands for,” said Guzman.
Throughout her school career, she experienced very few incidents of students who would cause trouble based on her condition. For the vast majority, she claims, her peers both respect and cherish her for who she is, without pity or obligation.
When the announcement was made that Guzman had won the position of Queen alongside new King Isaiah Robles, she had nothing but amazement and happy tears.
Her mother and father were on hand – proud and smiling, supporting their daughter’s accomplishment.
Friends and fans rushed to her as she exited the field, and the smile never left her face as she grouped with the rest of the court for photos, flowers in hand.
Immediately after winning, Guzman said she couldn’t believe it, but still felt so happy to be part of a group of students who would honor her in such a way. She said they were amazing and couldn’t thank them enough.
Alejandrina Guzman inspires her teachers, friends and community by simply doing what comes natural.
As she says in her videos: “Everyone has a battle they’re fighting; you don’t know about it until you meet them. I want to know that struggle and let them know they can handle it.”
They only need to follow her personal motto and “just roll with it.”