Cvetanka Rizvanovic

Rachael Maughan, Feature Editor

Even in second grade, Cvetanka Rizvanovic was teaching others about the world by bringing in a School House Rock video about the earth for Earth Day. Since then, she has worked with multiple organizations to do things from preserving Hidden Hollow, to helping a middle school in Ghana.

She’s spent her four years at Highland being involved through groups like student congress and FCCLA, and taking nearly all the Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) classes. With all of this on her resume it’s no wonder that she is this year’s Sterling Scholar in FACS.

Though she has always been doing what she can, Rizvanovic’s passion for service first showed itself in a big way when she helped a middle school in Ghana with her eighth-grade language arts class. They worked to install computers and internet, and get enough books for a library. The Ghana project began at Clayton under teacher Stephanie Hunt’s supervision, and has continued through the years. Hunt has been a role model for Rizvanovic because of her kindness to others, a trait Rizvanovic has gone on to exemplify through her efforts to improve the world around her.

“I work with a nonprofit called Turning Green and they focus on mobilizing and empowering students globally to initiate climate action,” Rizvanovic said. “I went to an Eco-Summit in California where we met with a bunch of esteemed leaders [and] they’re also passionate about the environment.”

Now, Rizvanovic is on their student advisor board, is the campus rep here at Highland, and was a 2019 Project Green Challenge finalist. She is currently working on a climate action project through Turning Green. The goal is to reduce Highland’s energy consumption school wide. To do this, she has collaborated with the district energy resource manager to replace all lightbulbs in the library with LEDs, as it takes up a large portion of Highland’s annual energy consumption.

Rizvanovic also has an internship at Hawthorne as an English Language Development helper for a student from Rwanda who speaks no English. She works with him on his English comprehension in speech, reading, and writing. This is a familiar experience for her. Her mother is a Bosnian refugee who doesn’t speak English. Though she has had help from social workers, she has had to help care for her family beginning at the early age of eight, helping with transportation, interpretation, and even managing finances.

[It’s] inspiring to see to have that as an older sibling,” Rizvanovics’s little sister, Donka, who is a freshman here at Highland, said.

This background has instilled a passion for FACS that she plans to carry through college. Rizvanovic plans to attend the U and major in human development and family studies, which is essentially FACS in a major. With this she hopes to become a teacher but also to have an opportunity to be an interpreter or a counselor.

With her experience and values Rizvanovic will go on to do wonderful things in the world.

“We’re just really thrilled to have her representing our department,” Wendy Curtis, FACS teacher, said. “She’s just a great young lady.”