CRMS Alumnae Reynis Vazquez ’13 and Rotceh Vazquez ’15, and a Family’s Sacrifice for Education
Home for the holidays special for Vazquez family
Scott Condon, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
Article in the Aspen Daily News – December 25, 2023
There was no room for a desk in their cramped single room. It was dominated by the bed they shared.
“So I went outside and grabbed a five-gallon bucket and I grabbed another one-gallon bucket, so she would sit down on the one-gallon bucket and she would use the five-gallon bucket for her notebook and start doing her homework,” Hector said.
Reynis was in third grade at the time. Rotceh, a first-grader, did her homework on the bed.
Hard work by Hector and Mama Reynis allowed the family to eventually buy and renovate a mobile home in El Jebel.
Mama Reynis said she always believed education was critical for her daughters. That’s why she was willing to sacrifice, whether it was in Tijuana or El Jebel.
“That’s actually the one thing that we always agreed on,” Hector said. “We strongly believe that education makes a whole difference in the world. We just knew that education was the window or the door for life.”
Education opened a door indeed. Old Snowmass resident Scott Gilbert was on the board of trustees of Colorado Rocky Mountain School in 2008 and given the task of finding a promising Latina in the Roaring Fork Valley that might be interested in attending the private school.
Gilbert said he talked to an administrator at Basalt Middle School and was advised to consult with an English teacher. That teacher highly recommended Reynis for consideration because of her strong academic performance and interest in arts and cultural endeavors. In Gilbert’s words, Reynis was portrayed as a “shining star.”
He accompanied the family to CRMS and they made the decision that Reynis would attend.
“It was a very sudden shift for me,” Reynis said. “All through eighth grade, you’re a really tight community, you’re all going on to Basalt High School. I liked Basalt. I liked being a Basalt Longhorn.”
Before the family reached their decision, she was warned that she might excel at Basalt High School but she wasn’t guaranteed success at a school where perhaps the academic standards were higher.
“Sometimes that’s really motivating, to prove people wrong,” Reynis said.
She excelled at CRMS and stood out because of her pre-SAT test score. She was invited to apply for a summer camp at MIT in the program Minority Introduction to Technology, Engineering and Science.
“That gave me hope that I could apply to some of the top colleges and have a chance of getting in,” Reynis said. “And even if I didn’t get in, it at least encouraged me to apply.”
Upon graduation at CRMS, she was accepted at Yale, Columbia, MIT and Stanford among others.
“I knew I wanted to study something related to math and science,” Reynis said. “Engineering seemed like a good combination. Stanford really promotes computer science. The computer science culture there is really big.”
She recalled that when she was in middle school, she had taken a computer programming course for kids, taught by Steve Kaufman. That class was inspiring and proved useful in her academic pursuits.