Worth Your Life – Getting to Know Ashley Loaiza, Student Leadership Coordinator

Spanish teacher Ashley Loaiza found herself preparing for more than just foreign language training in the fall of 2020. As Valor’s new Student Leadership Coordinator, she also oversees the 12 senior leaders, along with over 80 other students who participate in student leadership. Ashley took over for Denise Paswaters, who passed on the mantle of leadership over the summer.

When the opportunity became available, Mrs. Loaiza felt called to volunteer. She said the job felt like a natural fit, because “my whole heart is about discipling kids and really lifting up leaders.” In the transition, she found that Mrs. Paswaters had laid a solid foundation for her to build on. “I came in to 12 incredible senior VP’s and an incredible student body president who really knew exactly where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do…I love being able to read through her stuff because she was very organized and very about students…whatever they wanted to do, really being the wind behind that.”

Mrs. Loaiza’s broad experience in discipleship and ministry paved the way for her new role at Valor. After working in student ministry for several years after college, she sold everything she had and moved to Costa Rica to immerse herself in ministry there. Still, her students were her biggest motivators. She remembers, “I felt like at least in my youth group, the teenagers had heard so many people talk about really spending your life for the Lord and there were just very few people that they had seen do it growing up in Highlands Ranch/Lone Tree. I just want them to see that this is actually worth your life.

After returning to Highlands Ranch five years later, she found a place at Valor that utilized her Spanish-speaking experience and heart for teenagers. In her new role with student leadership, she looks forward to seeing Valor student leaders rise to meet the challenges before them.

Already, the student leaders are working to make the most of an unusual school year. Among some of the plans for the fall are a fall festival, remote viewing parties for football games, spirit and giving days, and t-shirts for the entire student body.

At Valor and beyond, Mrs. Loaiza hopes to see her students be innovators and generators of change. Reflecting on this year’s Student Leadership Board, she believes these students are well on their way. She says that instead of only putting in the minimum effort, “These teenagers are the ones that are movers and shakers. They’re the ones that I think are going to end up being in politics and changing the world and being on the other side of the world, running an organization of some sort.”

Most importantly, students in Valor Student Leadership will learn what it means to lead after the model of Jesus. For Mrs. Loaiza, true leadership is found when leaders walk in the words of Paul in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

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