Analilia Nunez Murillo: Turn Around Student
KC grad went from chronic truant to All-A Student
Analilia Nunez Murillo has a shy giggle.
She giggles when she talks about middle school — and all that time she spent skipping classes. “Like everyone knew I was always in the hallways,” she said.
She giggles about her freshman year, when she was still “acting up.”
And, she giggles when she shyly says something happened in the summer before her sophomore year.
“I realized that your education is really important, “she said. “I got it together.”
She did get it together. So much so that she set an ambitious goal for herself the summer before her senior year: All A’s for her last year of high school. “I accomplished my goals. That’s better than I’ve ever done,” she said with a giggle. “I’m really happy about that.”
Murillo, 19, graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in June. In the fall, she plans to attend Western Michigan University, where she’d like to major in business.
Murillo lives in Kalamazoo with her parents Sonia and Antonio Nunez. She has an older sister Sara, 20, who attends WMU; a sister Maria, 17, who is a junior at K-Central; a brother Jesus, 14, who is a freshman at Central; and a brother Antonio Jr., 8, who attends Edison Environmental Science Academy.
Murillo is not sure what happened in middle school. She just knows that she and her friends were always hanging out in the hallways, and by that time some people were already doubting whether she’d graduate from middle school. The behavior persisted into her freshman year at Central.
“My parents were really upset,” she said. “They didn’t know why I was acting like that. My parents said I need to change it around. That it was unacceptable. You can’t be acting like that. I realized they were saying the truth. I realized I had to change everything.”
Sometimes friends still tempted her to return to old habits, tried to get her to skip class. “I’d say, ‘No. I have to go to class. I’ve changed. That’s not me anymore. I’m a new person,’” Murillo said. “Sometimes I was pushing my friends, setting an example for them so they could do the same things I did, like go to class.”
She said Kalamazoo Central Dean of Students Angelita Aguilar-Nivala, who retired at the end of the school year, was also a huge supporter.
“She kept me on track and was always there for me.”
“Analilia started off high school as a student who wasn’t quite focused and unclear of her goals, but she was open to advice and guidance,” Aguilar-Nivala said. “Once Analilia decided she was going to attend a university in the fall of 2017, she was persistent, dedicated, and driven. Her effort and work ethic are admirable.”
In addition to spending more time studying, Murillo has been a reading buddy for students at Parkwood-Upjohn Elementary School; volunteers at her church, where she helps Sunday school teachers and packs lunches for the homeless; and has been a member of the bilingual club, which helps organize the annual celebration honoring the life of labor activist Cesar Chavez.
“At this year’s Cesar Chavez march, I went up and read a poem about him and gave a speech,” she said. “I told the students, it doesn’t matter how hard your struggles are, you should always face them and be proud of yourself because of what you accomplish. Don’t let anyone bring you down. Always reach for your goals.”