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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ferris High School: Jonathan Garcia Carranza

By Joe Everson For The Spokesman-Review

A high-school career that began in trauma will end in celebration for Ferris senior Jonathan Garcia Carranza.

Garcia Carranza was 4 years old when he and his family immigrated to Spokane from Mexico. By the time he was a freshman at Ferris, they had lived here for nearly 12 years. But while Jonathan, his mother, and sister came with passports, his father was undocumented, and in November of that year, he was arrested, then deported a few months later. He visits his father every summer and they also have frequent FaceTime conversations.

“It was heartbreaking,” Garcia Carranza said. “It happened outside my house, but I didn’t see it. I tried to take it calmly, but my sister was angrier. My dad told me to keep going to school, but sometimes I didn’t want to. It was hard to do what was expected of me, but my mom worked and then took care of us, and all my friends at school encouraged me. Another friend at Lewis and Clark texted me every day telling me to get up and go to school.”

Despite that difficult beginning to his freshman year, Jonathan has been in numerous activities at Ferris, including football, track and field, Lego Club and yearbook. He is also a production assistant on the Ferris News Network, a daily video program.

That doesn’t begin to describe his contributions to the school, though. Staff members, including Assistant Principal Andrew Lewis, are his biggest fans. “Awesome” is the first word that comes to mind when they talk about him.

Lewis, who also works closely with the Ferris Associated Student Body, puts it this way: “Jonathan is so loved at Ferris. He had to battle shyness to get out of his bubble. He has not just blossomed; he has become a leader, and joined the ASB Leadership team during his senior year.

“I’ve known Jonathan since he was a freshman during COVID. I met him and his sister when we were delivering food to families, and sometimes I just wanted to see how he was doing. Here’s an example of the kind of kid he is. One time when I visited his apartment, he was going door-to-door with a wallet that he had found to see if someone there had lost it. If he sees someone in need, he jumps in to offer help.”

Garcia Carranza is especially proud of the role that he has played in helping to increase attendance and involvement in Ferris student convocations. The secret, he says, is more games and less talking.

“Our cons could get really boring,” he said. “I would see people leaving out the doors instead of going to them. But it’s different now and students are excited to attend.”

He will be attending Eastern Washington University this fall, planning to live on campus and major in early childhood education. He has not been involved in the Ferris ECE program, but his sister, one year younger, has talked with him about her positive experience in the class.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be done with high school,” he said. “I have loved being involved with the school, because so many people aren’t. I wanted to have a voice in the school. Our theme for this year is ‘I belong, you belong.’ ”

That theme summarizes Garcia Carranza’s contributions to Ferris.

“Jonathan has grown in his confidence to become a difference-maker here,” Lewis said. “He is an advocate now for himself and others, and has become a true servant-leader.”