Indira Escobar hopes that people remember her as “the girl on fire.”
“This is a hunger games reference to Katniss Everdeen, who is deemed ‘the girl on fire,’” the Destrehan High School class of 2022 salutatorian said. “She’s able to ignite change in the totalitarian system that is Panem. Fighting to alter the inequity marginalized groups face and the shine light on the continuance of their success is a mission that I am passionate about.”
Escobar’s zeal to vocalize issues BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) face led her to be a co-founder of Nola Empower Latinx. This August she will move across the country to attend the University of Southern California, where she will major in computer science and journalism.
“During my undergrad years I will be studying communications to prepare me of how to share and voice community concerns on different mediums,” she said. “Additionally, I will be studying computer science to continue my hobby of coding in hopes of implementing software in what I do. Long term, I want to combine my passion for film and personal goals of social change to create cinema that reflects advocacy. This advocacy will continue the theme of fighting for social justice that I have found in my later years of high school.”
Escobar’s high school career was filled to the brim with academic achievements, personal development and extra-curricular activities.
She was the co-founder of the Trinity Force Robotics, which she said fostered an environment for under-represented people in STEM. Escobar was a member of the Homecoming Court, Youth Climate Action Coalition, St. Charles Parish 4-H, DHS Student Council, Wildcats Invested in Saving the Environment, Big Future (Collegeboard), USTRIVE, Wetland Watchers, National English Honor Society, National Honor Society, the T.V Production Morning Announcements, Wildcat Mentor Program, Fellowship of Christian Students, Tennis, Wildcat Robotics and Cross Country. She held various leadership positions in many of the clubs and programs.
Escobar is a College Board AP Scholar and 2022 Coca Cola Scholars Program Semifinalist. She won numerous poetry, writing, science fair and other distinctions while at DHS. She was also one of 35 students selected to represent Louisiana in Tennessee at the 2021 Southern Region Teen Leadership Conference.
Escobar earned several certifications in high school, including but not limited to a Hazard Communication for Employees Certification, Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Certification, Managing Risk of Bloodborne Pathogen Certification, Red Cross CPR and First Aid Certification.
Escoboar’s extensive volunteerism includes – but is not limited to – coordinating many school supply and hurricane recovery drives. She has also organized a Nicaragua Book Drive, in which she has shipped over 4,000 books for public schools and the general public in her home country of Nicaragua.
Escobar and her family moved to Louisiana in 2009.
“They sent me here for a reason … they sent me here to succeed,” Escobar said of her family that remains in Nicaragua. “In a way I’m living a life that in some ways they wanted to live … there’s just this feeling that I owe them something, and just being able to rise up in whatever I do – whether it’s academic or service-wise – and navigate the dualities of the world I’m living in. Any service I do is for them. It’ll be emotional on graduation day because I know they won’t here there in person, but they’ll be watching … we’re close in heart, but distance not so much.”
Escobar said approximately 95% of her family remains in Nicaragua, and that her time as DHS served as a time to grow more comfortable in her identity.
“I’ll miss my growth that happened there,” she said of her time as a DHS student. “This was a time where I learned the most about who I am and my identity. It’s cliché I guess, but for someone like me it’s very real … it’s something that’s hard to figure out for someone who is different.”