Cristina Navarette grew up on the South Coast and was making the most of her years in Pescadero High School. She played three sports at the school and excelled in academics, too.

“I was excited for my senior year,” she said one day in the lead-up to graduation. “We did get to play one sport, basketball, but it was such a short season.”

The pandemic put an end to much of that.

“When it came to applying to college, I was very stressed,” Navarette admitted. “My grades in my junior year weren’t what I wanted. There were many colleges I couldn’t apply to because of my grade-point average.

“They weren’t giving me the major I wanted,” she said. “They were offering my second choice.”

She did have choices. She loved English in high school, particularly writing personal essays. And that’s not all.

“I have always loved drawing and I kind of wanted to be an artist, but I also wanted something bigger,” she said. “Since the end of middle school, I’ve always thought of nursing.”

She’ll get her shot at nursing thanks to her acceptance at California State University, Chico.

“When Chico got back to me I didn’t even want to open the email. I didn’t open it for a while,” she said. “Once I did, I couldn’t believe it said nursing. It was my last hope.”

Navarette isn’t ready to shake all of the sand out of her shoes. And she thinks she may be in the Golden State for good.

“I don’t think I could ever leave California,” she said. “We are so close to the beaches and I rarely go, but when I talk to other kids who go off to college, they tell me how much they miss the beach.”

— Clay Lambert

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