Beau Menchaca

Position: Higher Education Coordinator

School: Century High School

School District: Santa Ana Unified

City, State: Santa Ana, California

About the Nominee: This is Beau Menchaca's second nomination for LifeChanger of the Year. Mr. Menchaca was previously nominated in 2014. Beau Menchaca always finds a way to be a leader in activities at his school. Through the development of several programs throughout his career, he has worked to make every school community he works in a more appreciative, inspiring, and welcoming place to be for faculty and students alike.

While working as an office assistant, Mr. Menchaca overheard two girl students talking about what they wanted to be, how there had never been a women president in the US and whether or not women in the world held any positions of influence. This prompted him to organize the "The Gallery of Illustrious Women." For this display, Mr. Menchaca realized that the students needed some positive women role models to inspire them and he began a letter writing campaign to women leaders all over the world, asking them to send a picture and a letter encouraging everyone, especially girls, to aspire to be the best they could be and work towards making a difference in the world. Each letter and picture he received was displayed at the school.

Another one of Mr. Menchaca's projects aimed at recognizing and acknowledging both students and staff are integral parts in the task of uplifting school spirit and cultivating a nurturing atmosphere. To show appreciation for his colleagues, he developed the Apple Awards and got the whole community involved in nominating and honoring educators with these awards. Through this award, he has truly made the school community a better place.

In addition to the programs Mr. Menchaca has developed, on a daily basis he works hard to make sure everyone knows that higher education is an option for them. The Higher Education Center is open to everyone, regardless of their grade point average or grade, and Mr. Menchaca boosts it success by getting parents involved, inviting colleges to come and present, organizing Centurion week to celebrate students who are on course to graduate on time and working with students one-on-one to determine the next steps for them.

The vision that Mr. Menchaca has for the school, along with his ability, dedication and commitment to students is making a difference for everyone at Century High School. Whether it is by celebrating student achievement, recognizing the contributions of members of the school community or by re-vitalizing the Higher Education Center, he constantly contributes to make his school a better place for all.

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