Success Stories

Carlos - Phoenix

Author: BHGH Web Admin/Monday, February 17, 2014/Categories: National Success Stories

Carlos - Phoenix

Phoenix scholar CARLOS O. became a champion debater while at Phoenix’s Brophy Preparatory Academy. He’s a superstar within the National Forensics League—the governing body of high school competitive speech and debate. His specialty is Congressional Debate, a particularly demanding style of debate modeled upon the rules and methods used in the United States Congress. “It’s a very formal style of debate,” Carlos says. “It’s based on mutual respect, and you maintain a very formal demeanor throughout the debate. It works just like Congress—you debate legislation, and you have to support your case.”

He’s one of the top five Congress-style debaters in the country. Over the last three years, he’s taken home over 40 awards, and recently competed in the Harvard National Congress, one of the most prestigious debate tournaments in the country.

What leads a young person into this arena? Carlos says it wasn’t exactly planned.

“It kind of happened by accident,” he says. “I needed to take a summer school class before my freshman year of high school, and I saw a class called ‘Forensics’ on the schedule. I thought it was forensic pathology, and that sounded interesting, but when I got there, I saw that it had nothing to do with science.”

But if it was an accident, it was a fortunate one, because it gelled with one of Carlos’ long-time interests: politics. “I’ve always been a fan of politics,” he says. “I always followed it. Debate gives me the chance to do more than just read about it.”

One of five siblings, Carlos’ family struggled with many of the challenges facing first-generation American families, so he’s had good reason to be interested in politics, having experienced firsthand how policy affects people. His family valued education and worked hard to get Carlos into Brophy Prep, but an economic crisis threatened his future at the school. His mother reached out to Boys Hope Girls Hope and our Phoenix Affiliate’s Executive Director, Tami Bohannon found an “angel” donor who was willing to underwrite Carlos’scholarship to the program.

“I love it,” he says of Boys Hope Girls Hope. “What the program offers is incredible. It gives you a place to stay, amenities—all you have to do is to stay on track and be responsible. It’s the best deal anyone ever offered me.”


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My name is Laura.  I am a Junior at Regis Jesuit High School.  I have been at Boys Hope Girls Hope for almost a year now.  Before coming to BHGH I had a very unstable home and attended many different schools. Even though life was hard, I knew all along that I had potential to reach success.  The decision to come to BHGH was difficult.  I had to leave family and friends behind.  But I knew that it was the right choice, given the high expectations that I have for myself. 

This program provides me with wonderful tools and opportunities. My tutors are my life savers! They are here to help me with my weakest subjects and they do a great job helping me understand the material. I have a wonderful mentor, Concetta, who is a fabulous cook and great at giving advice. She’s like my best friend and I love spending time with her.

Boys Hope Girls Hope has given me the opportunity to participate in several community service projects.  I love going to Bessie’s Hope, which, for all of those who haven’t heard of this place, is a retirement home. When we go, we get to interact with the elderly who live there. We get the opportunity to make their day, and to make their stay more pleasant. We’re there to make them feel loved and cared for. I became very close with a lady named Feliz Ann.  She was the one that made me look forward to going there.

Recently I have learned to caddie at the Colorado Golf Club and I love it! I get to work out in the sun and I’ve had the opportunity to meet great people. I really enjoy caddying. I’m getting a tan, I’m getting in shape, and I’m making money all at the same time. It can’t get any better than this!

In addition to community service and work, I’ve also had the chance to experience new activities such as sailing and rock climbing.  These activities have encouraged me to take risks.  I used to be afraid of what’s hidden beneath the water…. and there I was, on a boat, in Cherry Creek Reservoir, waiting for the wind to take me somewhere!  And when I went rock climbing, I had to climb to the very top and then they told me to let go!   I had to trust the equipment and people to get me down safely.   I was afraid of what was going to happen once I let go, but I knew I had to do it.  There will be many times in my future when I’ll have to take risks to get to where I want to be.

So…I have several life goals. First, I hope to finish high school at Regis Jesuit with outstanding grades. I hope to get much more involved with sports and after school activities. After I accomplish this, I hope to go off to a college that fits me and that I will love.  There, I will pursue a career in the medical field. It will be a long journey with ups and downs but I know that Boys Hope Girls Hope will help me reach my goals.  

On behalf of all the Boys Hope Girls Hope scholars, I thank you for providing us this opportunity.