Community service, involvement are key for WHS senior Alex Mazariegos
“Be open to new ideas, be open to meeting new people. Surround yourself with good people. Surround yourself with positive people.”
WORTHINGTON — Worthington High School senior Alex Mazariegos likes to get involved, and not just in school but in church and in the community too.
“I’ve always been a person who’s open to anything, getting involved in anything I can get into,” he said.
As a post-secondary enrollment option student, Mazariegos graduated from Minnesota West Community & Technical College with an associate’s degree in business management last week, and will graduate from WHS next week.
In the fall, he’ll head to Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, where he intends to double major in business management and marketing, with a concentration in entrepreneurship.
He wants to start a business.
“I’m still brainstorming some ideas on what I want to do,” Mazariegos said. “It’d be something locally, something for my community to always give back to them.”
He plans to spend a few years working after college while he develops his business idea and maps out a plan for it.
Mazariegos has always been involved in his community, and he’s good at staying organized and scheduling out his time. That’s been almost a necessity given the number of activities he’s participated in over the years.
Take FFA, for example, which Mazariegos has been a part of throughout high school. He took an agriculture class in eighth grade and enjoyed it, but didn’t think too much about it until some friends told him he should join them in FFA. At first he turned up for the monthly meetings, and the group talked about their many activities, had food and played games.
He got involved in judging dairy and this past year, judging dairy products — a competition that includes identifying cheese samples and identifying milk.
“To be honest, I was never a cheese fan until I started that CDE (career and leadership development event),” Mazariegos said, but now he favors mozzarella, colby and cheddar.
He’s also been the treasurer of the group for two years now.
While his family has a farming background in their country of origin, Guatemala, Mazariegos’ parents don’t farm here. Herminio and Catalina Mazariegos have lived in Worthington for many years, though, and Mazariegos is grateful for their support.
“Having parents’ support is always the best and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to do so many of these things — having my parents have my back and support me in everything I do,” he said. “My mom is always supportive and giving me advice, and my dad is always there for me.”
He said his parents have also always pushed him to do better, to move forward and get a good education.
Mazariegos is the second oldest in the family, and loves his siblings dearly. Humberto is the oldest. Christopher is a junior in high school, and Hamilton is a sophomore. His sister, Miness, is in eighth grade, and the youngest in the family, Abel, is in sixth grade.
Mazariegos is involved in an array of other activities in and out of school. He plays the violin in the orchestra at high school, but also with the Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra.
He’s in the National Honor Society, which requires its members to volunteer at least 10 hours in a year, but Mazariegos didn’t stop there. He volunteered more than anyone in the chapter and spent 168 hours doing community service in a year, helping out at the Nobles County Fair with the FFA, working to set up the stage at the Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival, assisting librarians with the children’s programs at the Nobles County Library and helping serve food at events.
He’s not afraid to try new things, either, and joined the tennis team last year.
Mazariegos is also extensively involved at his church, the Abundant Life Tabernacle on Clary Street, where he provides music but also does maintenance, ushering, given devotions, plays the piano and helps with the sound system.
“I like to do it all… pretty much anywhere they need me, that’s where I help out,” he said. “I’m really involved with my church and I really do enjoy that.”
He greatly values his faith and the way it, too, has brought him to where he is now.
Given his involvement in so many activities, groups and events, Mazariegos has developed a number of skills and talents over the years, but there’s one thing he still has trouble with.
“Saying no is one of the hardest things for me,” he said. “... I’m learning to do that.”
His advice to students entering high school is to try right away rather than waiting.
“Don’t wait until you’re a sophomore or a junior, you’ll miss so many opportunities then,” he said. “Be open to new ideas, be open to meeting new people. Surround yourself with good people. Surround yourself with positive people.”
He emphasized that he has benefited significantly over the years from getting out of his comfort zone and trying new things.
“It’s been a good journey. I’ve learned a lot of things; trying my best is what has brought me here,” he added. “The one thing I always wanted to do was to do better, be better… I want to chase that, I want to go after that.”
He encouraged others to get involved, too.
“I love giving back to my community. I love giving back, and in the future that’s something that I’ll continue to do,” Mazariegos said. “You can give back…. That can make a really big difference. Small things can lead to big things.
“Giving back is a part of who I am and I’ll continue to do that,” he added. “Wherever I go, wherever I end up, I’ll always give back and help others.”
Those who want to hear more from Mazariegos can tune in to the Worthington High School graduation ceremony, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. May 27. It will be livestreamed, as well as recorded and played on WGTN-TV 3.
He completed the writing of his speech earlier this month.