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ADRIAN SANTANA

Adrian Santana is an artist, a student, and a cyclist. He has been a part of the UCO family since he was three years old. When Diamond Minds Transformational Leadership Academy opened its doors in 2009, Adrian was sitting front and center in the classroom. As a second grader, his receptive and expressive language skills were limited, he often responded by repeating words he heard. In public school, Autism was a limiting factor for Adrian. At Diamond Minds his participation was a driving force for the school’s vision for an equitable and inclusive experience for all children. Adrian’s family, friends, and instructors were committed to ensuring that he be fully engaged in all aspects of the Diamond Minds program. And fully immersed he is!

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Adrian’s love of art and drawing quickly became a tool for his teachers to connect his interests to drive his learning ability. Soon Adrian was reading comic books and creating his own art for display. His love of art inspired the expansion of the arts programs at Diamond Minds. Soon the school was hosting large events, like Art in the Gardens, centered on large collaborative murals with students and community artists, and featuring and auctioning students’ artwork. Adrian has been a featured muralist in Art in the Gardens and has won several awards. During his junior year at Diamond Minds, he became a student employee, coaching and mentoring other young artists. In 2020, Adrian graduated from Diamond Minds and enrolled as an art student at Miami-Dade College. Currently, in his second year of school, Adrian is studying Fine Arts, with a concentration in Digital Arts. Every day Adrian catches a train from Lake Worth and cycles to Diamond Minds where he continues to work with our students while attending college. We are proud to have been a part of Adrian’s journey and look forward to his continued impact on our community!