As a self-identified shy extrovert, Jessie’s drive and passion for improving student outcomes has been a bright light in his community. Jessie grew up in a traditional Hispanic family, and learned to avoid discussing his sexual orientation. After he became the first in his family to graduate high school and attend college, he began to uncover more about his identity during his diversity training as a Resident Advisor. Jessie became the first in his family to graduate from university. He received his teaching credential from Cal State San Marcos, and realized that he was going to change student lives after he connected with foster students during his student teaching, and empowered his students as they achieved new goals and reached new heights. Jessie has been in education for 15 years serving as a classroom elementary teacher, assistant principal, and principal. Outside of changing student lives, Jessie loves to travel, try new foods, breweries, and discover more about his city!
Justin’s resilience and strength to overcome life’s obstacles is inspiring. After both his parents became sick and passed away when he was a young teenager, Justin had to navigate young adulthood on his own. He persevered and graduated from the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg with a 3.9 GPA, Magna Summa Cum Laude, and was able to pursue his love of both travel and education teaching with VIPKid. In addition to education, Justin is passionate about the arts. He loves to learn new art skills. During the pandemic, Justin learned how to publish books! He created his own Pride themed coloring book, which he sold on Amazon. Justin also loves to travel, and has made lifelong friends across the globe, and loves to help others.
How do you celebrate your Pride?
Rebecca’s radiant energy, loving personality, and her identity as intersex has allowed her to be a passionate advocate for intersex rights. Rebecca graduated from the University of Missouri and moved into a career in marketing, soon transitioning to fundraising, which led her to activism. She is an educator, grant-writer, and serves as president of the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group. A highlight of her career is working with a nonprofit which helped MTV create an intersex character for the MTV show “Faking It.” Rebecca is a mother to three wonderful children, and in her free time she loves to run, knit, and bake all kinds of delicious breads!
What sparked your passion for activism?
Sam’s passion and love of the arts, as well as inspiration from her mom as a former teacher, paved her pathway for education in the arts. After graduating from Scripps College, Sam pursued a post-baccalaureate in the arts, and quickly delved into learning about different forms. She is a skilled potter, and served as president of an arts non-profit. She met her wife through art. Together they worked collaboratively on creating beautiful ceramic pieces, until her wife passed away from cancer two years ago. Sam and her wife were fierce advocates for marriage equality, and were married on the first day it was legal in Washington State. Sam’s strong spirit and love is evident through her support and care for her students. Currently, she and her mom grow a lot of their own food, and even have a pet turkey named Sweetie Pie who is 10 years old!
What was it like to be one of the first couples to get married in Washington State?
Creative, compassionate, and clever, Violette has used her talents and passions to experience life to the fullest. Violette is a performance artist, who dances and does fire performance! Prior to the pandemic, she owned her own booking agency and worked on planning events from galas to corporate parties. Violette performed at the Gay Games, the LGBTQ+ Olympics, in front of thousands of people in 2014. Currently, Violette is pursuing her degree in nursing, and has been inspired by her wife who is also a nurse. She also has a master’s degree in French! Violette and her wife have expanded their family, and welcomed their daughter, Lavender, very recently. After her wife had their baby 10 weeks early, and a long stay at the NICU, Violette is excited to have her family home. She and her wife also enjoy hiking and camping adventures!
What are you passionate about?