Chef Shawn: Graduate, Leader
Shawn Guerrero, Lummi, is a warmhearted person who is loved and respected in our community, and who overcame early obstacles to achieve success. At the age of thirteen Shawn became an active member of NAYA’s soccer team. While attending Terra Nova High School in Beaverton, Shawn struggled academically, and culturally. His involvement with NAYA influenced him to enroll in the Early College Academy (ECA). Surrounded by the support of willing staff and teachers, Shawn’s experience transitioning into a larger, more culture-oriented school changed his perspective on education. He began school at the ECA in the fall of 2007 while attending night classes at Benson High School to complete missing credits.
Connecting to the community gave Shawn a chance to give back. Midway through senior year, Shawn started helping out in the kitchen during his free periods by setting up, prepping food and serving meals. His hard work and dedication resulted in being invited to help with several Nawitka Catering events outside of Portland throughout the school year, and then an internship offer after he graduated from the ECA in the summer of 2011. Utilizing wraparound services provided at NAYA such as after school programming, and college & career services, Shawn came to understand his options in post-secondary education. With the help of NAYA’s College Preparation Specialist, Shawn enrolled and was accepted into the NW Culinary Institute, located in Vancouver, WA where he later attended evening classes while continuing his internship in the kitchen at NAYA.
Now, Shawn is the Head Chef at the NAYA Family Center. You’ll find him in the kitchen, preparing meals for students, Elders, and staff, or training his own set of interns. His friendly smile and humble personality are a reminder to those around him to embrace the NAYA core value of Kindness. Shawn is saving to go to college and obtain a business degree. Asked why he stays at NAYA, Shawn responds, “I stay here for the people I serve every day, as a way to give back to the place that helped me succeed beyond high school.” Shawn demonstrates the core community values of Leadership, Kindness, and Pride through his work at NAYA. His dependability, dedication and willingness to serve his community are evident and greatly appreciated.
NAYA’s Early College Academy works because we teach culture. Being connected to tradition encourages our youth to give back to the community materially and culturally. The annual ECA Luncheon is Wednesday April 8th at 11:30am here at NAYA. The Luncheon supports the success of our students as they grow, learn, and find their path. Learn more on the ECA Luncheon website, including a sneak peek of the items available in our silent auction.