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Yizel Solano Gonzalez and Itzel Solano Gonzalez



Yizel and Itzel are twins that attended Salvador Elementary School, Redwood Middle School, and will graduate in June from Vintage High School. Summer SearchAVIDMigrant Education and music are programs that shaped their journey throughout their time in our district. According to the sisters, the programs provided an outlet to express themselves, explore their interests, and discover their strengths. 

Both have fond memories of their four years in the Vintage High School band. Yizel vividly recalls her first day of band camp under the hot sun with sweat dripping down her face, singing on bus trips at the top of her lungs, and playing under the Friday night lights in front of what she describes as, “the enormous stadium filled with thunderous crowds.” Yizel also sentimentally remembers “the fierce chanting of ‘We believe we will win, we believe we will win!’ during [marching band] competitions.”  These are but a few of the memories that Yizel shared that she says, “are kept in my heart.”

Itzel’s experience leading the flute section was a cherished memory. “When I walked into Memorial Stadium, all I could hear was the loud rumble of the audience and the stadium lights reflecting on the field,” she said. “Leading the flute section and marching to the cadence of the drum as we walked in with the football team. The crowd went wild…it was surreal.”


Reflecting on her time at NVUSD Yizel said, “The district prepared me for my future by having amazing programs, teachers, and community. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for my teachers who have always encouraged me to strive for more.”

Itzel noted that she has been a student at NVUSD for seventeen years. “[It has] helped me flourish into an adult ready to take on the next chapter of my life,” she said. “It has offered me many opportunities and support during my learning years. I was introduced to the music program in 5th grade, and from there I had opportunities to meet wonderful teachers and counselors that have shaped who I am today.” She continued, “not only that, but the Napa Valley Community has supported me with scholarships and volunteering opportunities.”

While Yizel and Itzel credit their success to their teachers, programs and community, their teachers provide their own lens. Yizel’s band director at Vintage High School, Brendan Galvin, describes her as, “One of the most hard working students in the music program during her four years at Vintage. While seemingly reserved, after talking with Yizel, one without a doubt realizes that she has extremely mindful insights to share with the world.”

Jen LaMonte, an English teacher at Vintage High School, made a similar observation about Itzel. “In person, Itzel carries herself with a quiet gravitas. She is not given to careless chatter in class, but when it is time to speak, people listen,” said Ms. LaMonte. “In January of 2018, Itzel blew us away during the schoolwide Poetry Out Loud recitation contest. On stage, her presence was remarkable and electric. The understanding and emotional depth she communicated through her performance showed compassion, maturity and courage.  Whatever her achievements will be after graduating from Vintage, they are sure to be dazzling.”


Discussing her future plans, Yizel says that she was raised by her mother to value education. She remembers her mother saying to her, “Mija tienes que estudiar para tener una carrera y un buen futuro.” This translates to: “Daughter, you have to study to have a career and have a great future.” She hopes to honor her mothers words and her fathers “deep callused hands, from making cement all of his life” by prioritizing her education. 

She is well on her way to fulfilling this commitment, having received a full ride to UC Davis where she plans to major in viticulture and enology. Equipped with this education, Yizel says, “someday, I will own my own winery and provide jobs to many immigrant people who have come to this land for an opportunity to thrive for a better future; as my parents did for me.”

Itzel received a full ride scholarship to Dominican University of California where she plans to study biology in a pre-med program. She looks forward to taking on internships and forming connections that will help her become a doctor. However, like Yizel, her ambition goes beyond a career. She says,  “As a Latina, I want to represent my culture and my native town Oaxaca because that is really where my roots are from. Becoming a doctor is not only for me, it's for my family and siblings who are looking up to me.”

Yizel and Itzel Solano Gonzalez outside of Castello di Amorosa

Yizel and Itzel Solano Gonzalez outside of Castello di Amorosa

  • Vintage High School