Art is Life for YES Prep Gulfton’s Mariel Almazan

Close up picture of Mariel Almazan

Mariel Almazan holding her winning art entry
For the last two years, YES Prep has hosted a Holiday Card Contest where art students from all of our campuses are invited to submit their art work for consideration. This year we received over 60 entries and Mariel Azucena Almazan’s art piece was selected as our official 2018 YES Prep Holiday Card. This holiday card is mailed out to YES Prep friends and supporters to thank them for investing in the future of our students and for saying YES to leading Houston forward.
Almazan is in 10th grade at YES Prep Gulfton.

My mom learned about YES Prep through an ad and enrolled me and my brother because it seemed like the best option in the area. My first year at YES Prep, 6th grade, was tough because it was very different from what I was used to. I felt like I had to start over and I had very few friends. It was hard but I persevered. 

Since that first year, things have been good. Everyone is very supportive. I know a lot of people in my grade now and I get good grades. I also participate in a lot of extracurricular activities: choir, guitar, science fair, and I volunteer at Baker Ripley when we don’t have ACE (after school program). YES Prep has facilitated a lot of the things that I like to do, especially when it comes to art. 


I think I got my artistic talent from my dad. He was always into singing and wanted to study architecture. He was always drawing some type of building and was pretty good at drawing trees and birds. When I was little I would think, “that’s so cute, I want to try and do that!” I would also hand my dad those coloring books that had a little graph and you’d need to enlarge the drawing into the larger one, and I’d ask him to draw it for me. I think that’s how I was exposed to the art world.  

As for art itself, for me at least, I feel art is a safe space. Art is something I knew I loved and something I knew I was good at. Even when I wasn’t good at it, it was something fun that I did. Even now, it’s just so exciting to learn new things about art. It’s one of the things that keeps me going. I would even say art saved my life.  

My whole life I’ve dealt with mental health issues and during those hard times in my life, I would turn my attention to cartoons. Watching them, I saw a future for me there. I felt that if I could just advance enough, if I could just keep going another day, maybe there was a future for me in creating art like that. And hopefully, I could affect someone the same way it affected me.  


I would love to make art my future, whether it be music or visual art. I want to be a graphic engineer. That way, if I go into music, I can learn how to edit; if I go into making games, I can learn how to code and make 2D and 3D models; or I could also start my own cartoon series; or maybe I can go into architecture, if I want to go the more science-y route. Art is in a lot of things so you can really start anywhere with graphic engineering.  

Once I graduate from YES Prep, I would like to do an internship at an animation company or a cartoon network. I also plan to apply to as many art schools as I can, as well as to Ivy League schools in order to satisfy my parents. I’ve also considered starting a YouTube channel and share my animations there. The one thing I do know is I want to start on the path to becoming a full-fledged graphic engineer who can do anything she sets her mind to.  


I encourage other kids to come to YES Prep because you get to do a lot of cool stuff here. You get to go on field trips. For example my brother went to Washington D.C.. They also push you really hard. Even if you don’t like school, you’re still pushed. They have tutorials every day and the teachers really care about you.  

For those people and organizations that currently support YES Prep, I want to say thank you for contributing to our school. I hope our school gets bigger and we have more funds to continue to do all this cool stuff. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting us.  




If you’d like to support students like Mariel, consider making a tax-deductible gift to YES Prep Public School.

Click here to sponsor a student.

If you’d like to enroll your child in YES Prep, we are accepting lottery applications for the 2019-2020 school year.

Click here to get learn more.

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