• Higley High School senior Aubrey Tapia graduates in May, leaving behind a legacy of inclusion and kindness.

    Tapia chooses to set an example for her peers in numerous ways. She was involved in Best Buddies as a secretary and president, commits to community service with her church, and challenges herself academically with four AP (Advanced Placement) courses.

    “I’m definitely that go-getter person who strives to go above and beyond, so I think I lead by example in that,” Tapia said.

    She has already made a big impact on Best Buddies, a club that joins volunteers with students with special needs. During her presidency, the club flourished and now continues to grow.

    “It was an amazing opportunity to spread the message around my campus that we’re all different and we all have different attributes that make us who we are,” Tapia said. “It was great to just spread the message of inclusion and show that no matter who you are, you’re accepted here at Higley High School.”

    The Higley High Best Buddies Club was named the top Best Buddies Chapter in Arizona this year.

    Tapia said her experience brought her confidence to use her own imperfections to help people through their mistakes, having learned that she doesn’t have to be a politician or student body president to positively influence her peers.

    “Leaders are the people who kind of set the tone for society; so if you have a leader who’s loving and open and kind and supportive of other people, and respectful especially, I think that sets the tone for everybody else,” Tapia said.

    Tapia will attend GCU to study biology immediately after graduation. She hopes to continue to earn a master’s degree to become a physician’s assistant and be a positive force in the medical field.