Worthington’s Lopez Gomez named MAAP Student of the Year

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington ALC MAAP (Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs) Stars celebrated a year of firsts in competition during the recent statewide Spring Events Conference in Bloomington.

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Danny Lopez Gomez stands with MAAP Stars Director Patti Haasch after being named Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs MAAP Student of the Year. Submitted Photo

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington ALC MAAP (Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs) Stars celebrated a year of firsts in competition during the recent statewide Spring Events Conference in Bloomington. 

Six students traveled with advisor Anne Raetz to compete against students from other alternative learning programs across the state. Danny Lopez Gomez was named 2016 MAAP Student of the Year - a first for Worthington - and all of the students made it to the semifinals and final rounds of competition, with junior Michelle Ramirez taking third place in workplace relations, another first.
“We’re all very excited for him (Danny),” senior Jamari Quigley said. “... He had a journey and a story to tell.”
“I don’t deserve it,” Lopez Gomez, a senior, said humbly.
Raetz said Lopez Gomez had a number of criteria to meet in order to qualify for the award.

“He needed to show that he had been involved in his community, in his school and improving himself and he needed to show that he was significantly involved in MAAP Stars,” Raetz explained.
In his nomination form, Raetz outlined why Lopez Gomez should be considered for the honor.
“When Daniel (Danny) Lopez Gomez immigrated to the United States from Guatemala, he came with little to no English abilities,” Raetz wrote. “Since his arrival to the U.S., he has been regularly attending the Worthington ALC. During his time at the ALC, Danny has not only developed the English language skills he needs to be successful academically, but he has also developed into a strong, independent young man.”
Lopez Gomez currently works as an auto mechanic when not in school. Prior to that, Lopez Gomez worked third shift and attend high school classes when he got off of work, never letting his grades slip in the process.
Lopez Gomez works diligently in school to improve his knowledge of the English language, and has demonstrated that drive by competing in public speaking contests through MAAP Stars and by taking on extra work.
“Seeing how amazing he’s done in school and not just the fact that English is his second language, … I think that helped him prove how amazing he is,” Raetz said.
Lopez Gomez was unaware he was even in the running for Student of the Year when he got the award at the conference. In addition to the plaque he earned from the state, he received flowers and a gift card from the teachers at the ALC.
“It was exciting,” Lopez Gomez said, “(It’s) something I achieved in my life.”
“I was a super proud advisor,” Raetz commented about her students. “It’s really exciting to know that every single student that came from Worthington was able to move on to either semifinals or finals. Michelle (Ramirez) is the first student from Worthington to place. This is the first year we ever had anyone move onto finals.
“It was really exciting to see the improvement in the program and to see the dedication by the students. … It was exciting to see their hard work paid off. The other schools are aware that Worthington is on the map now as far as competition for next year.”

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Six of Worthington ALC’s MAAP Stars traveled to Bloomington to compete at the MAAP Spring Events Conference. Pictured clockwise from left, Anne Raetz, Jamari Quigley, Dakota Lopez, Danny Lopez Gomez, Michelle Ramirez, Isabela Cherry and Anahi Rodriguez. Submitted Photo

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