Photo by Emily Nagy
Senior Posse scholar Christian Melgar is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. In fact, his determination has propelled him to be named as one of Bethesda Magazine’s Extraordinary Top Teens, a standout award for adolescents in Montgomery County.
Bethesda Magazine’s Top Teen award is presented to high achieving students in Montgomery County who are well-rounded and accomplished. The annual award is announced in the March/April print copy of the magazine.
Melgar is currently enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Career Programme (IBCP) for childhood development and has an extensive resume full of distinguished activities.
Melgar credits his hard work to his parents, whom he observed working around the clock to provide for him.
“I witnessed my parents working and their work ethic and I will forever admire them for that, but it’s not something that I want for myself,” Melgar said. “You know being born in the U.S. and being raised in an area, that’s very suburban, where there are so many things close to you…I wanted to take advantage of all those resources to the max.”
Melgar was nominated for the Bethesda Magazine award by International Baccalaureate coordinator Laurie Ainsworth upon recommendation by English teacher Catherine Byrne, due to his strong work ethic and outgoing personality, they said.
After Melgar was announced a winner, he had an interview with Bethesda Magazine as well as a photoshoot at the Stone Ridge school.
Though Melgar is now recognized as a hardworking student, it was not always the case.
“Christian, when he entered my class his sophomore year, was emotive, and expressive, and unfocused…and was sporadic about assignments, homework, reading,” Byrne said. “Then the Christian that entered my class as a senior was about 180 degree shift from that previous person; he was focused, he was academic, he was applying for college, applying for this Posse Scholarship, interested entirely and understanding that he would attend and graduate from a four year university.”
Frustrated by the direction of his life, Melgar decided to change his life around mid-way through high school. Since that change junior year, Melgar has been able to realize his true potential and has discovered a passion for teaching and working with children.
“I remember being in on-level classes being like, ‘wow, I’m so stupid,’ and then all of a sudden I was like, ‘I’m enrolling in IB, I don’t know why, I don’t know what is going to be expected, but put me in,’ and so I did and eventually I started to develop those skills and seek help when I need it,” Melgar said. “I babysit my nieces… I tend to make it into like a teaching moment, so I bought them a little curriculum book from Costco and we sit on the kitchen table and I just start teaching them math, reading, writing.”
Next fall, Melgar will attend Bucknell University and hopes to bring new policy change by creating leadership and advocacy groups and increasing cultural awareness and diversity.
“My drive or motivation to succeed is when people tell me that I can’t,” Melgar said. “I’d like to say that I’m not a very competitive person but when you tell me I can’t do something, I’m gonna do it just to prove you wrong.”