Rio Grande High School senior Jesus Padilla is being recognized for trying to provide his community more access to healthy food.
He’s been named the school’s 2022 Selfless Senior.
KKOB Radio will feature Padilla’s story Friday as part of the Good News Files series.
Padilla started a community garden on campus where he provides demonstrations on growing edible crops. Tomatoes, jalapeños, watermelon and herbs grow inside the garden for teachers and students to take home and enjoy.
“When you grow vegetables and fruit, you learn new things,” he said. “When you learn new things, you can expand your mind and go places you’ve never gone before.”
Padilla also volunteers with farmers in the South Valley and Roadrunner Food Bank, helps neighbors with their own gardens and pet care, and mentors younger students in the school’s agricultural program. Padilla is also a cadet sergeant in the JROTC.
“Being outside is my favorite thing,” he said. “I love working with my hands, I love helping people, and I love gardening – so doing stuff with agriculture makes sense to me.”
In its 14th year, the Selfless Seniors program aims to shine a spotlight on students who work behind the scenes to make the Albuquerque community a better place to live.
Padilla said, thanks to his mentors both at school and at home, he discovered his passion at a young age. After graduation in May, he plans to attend Central New Mexico Community College to continue studying agriculture.
“The Good News Files” is a collaboration among KOAT-TV, News Radio KKOB and the Journal, with each entity taking turns featuring stories that make you smile.