Shiwee Cruz, Senior in the Camelback Montessori micro-school at Camelback High School, is inspired by the work that Maria Montessori did and has loved being a part of a Montessori school. Before coming to Camelback, Shiwee was a student in the Madison Elementary School District and wanted to remain in the same community for high school. During her time with Camelback Montessori, she has enjoyed building relationships with the other students in her school and learning in the hands-on method that her school allows for.
Aside from academics, Shiwee's culture is a central part of her life. Shiwee is Native American and a part of the Navajo Nation. Since she was younger, Shiwee has been dancing at Pow Wows and competing in various dance competitions with other individuals in her tribe. She loves wearing her traditional garments and learning the Navajo language from her grandmother who speaks it. She hopes to do her part to keep her culture and language alive.
Being a first-generation student, she was grateful to be admitted into the STEP program, which is a program that helps first-generation students who want to attend college out of state. Through STEP, she has done incredible things, such as making a trip to Alaska for a program that she feels helped her learn a lot about herself. Due to her hard work and the STEP program, Shiwee is one of Phoenix Union's few million-dollar scholars this year, which means that she has received over $1M in scholarship offers from the schools she has been admitted to. After she graduates, she plans to attend either Brown University or Bowdoin College to study Dermatology. Her goal in her Dermatology career is to combine holistic practices from her Navajo culture with modern medicine learned through her studies.
At Camelback, Shiwee has participated in many extracurriculars, such as Soccer, Golf, Montessori Club, Be A Leader, Chess Club, and Upward Bound. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, hanging out with her younger sister who is also a student at Camelback, and spending time with her family.