Gustavo Garcia Perez

2023 - ALABAMA

Gustavo Garcia Perez is a senior at George Washington Carver High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Since the 9th grade, he has contributed greatly to bringing about racial equity and inclusion in his school and his community. As the first Hispanic drum major in his school's history, he helped to increase the number of Latino and Latina students taking part in this program. Gustavo is president of Carver's social justice club, Heritage Panel. Through the Heritage Panel, he has led numerous panel presentations and activities aimed at making his school a more inclusive place. Two projects he is especially proud of include initiating a recycling program at his school and raising money to find a cure for blood cancer. Through winning $10,000 in the Altec Innovation Challenge in 2021, he was able to lead the way in launching a recycling program in which he and his team members were able to make sure his peers who did not have access to recycling at home could take care of the environment by bringing their recyclables to school. This is especially important because many of his peers live in the 35th Avenue Superfund site. Knowing that communities of color often have challenges to health care accessibility, he raised just under $65,000 for blood cancer research during the 2021 Lymphoma and Leukemia Society Student of the Year Program. Gustavo believes that anyone can make a difference and bring a change to the world, and it starts by believing in yourself. Gustavo hopes more young adults will realize the power they have to make a difference and come together to make an impact in their community.