Isabella Maria Valdes Cutten, CGCS Alumnae

Interview Series

How did your experience at CGCS impact and influence you/your life? 

The impact Calgary Girls Charter School had on me was immense, I felt that I came out confident, well spoken and passionate about what I have thrown myself into since then. I still have contact with the amazing teachers who taught me at CGCS, the role they played in being encouraging and inspiring has stayed with me since I started in grade 4 and left in grade 9. One teacher had told me she thought that I could be a writer, it was those words that pushed me to continue to write and publish my works. The lessons of integrity, passion and confidence that was taught at CGCS has stayed with me, I know that I am a stronger person because of it.

I think that while CGCS and its motto’s and goals are incredibly important, it is truly the teachers at CGCS that make the most impact in imprinting these lessons on students. It is the teachers at CGCS that I have remembered, not necessarily the classes but what these amazing teachers have communicated to me individually has stayed in my heart since finishing at the school.

Where are you and what are you doing now? 

I am currently in my third year at the University of Calgary, I am doing two degrees, one in Sociology with a specialization in Gender, Work and Family studies, my other degree in International Indigenous Studies. I am a Junior Executive with the Indigenous Students Circle at the UofC and a part of the Queer organization and Latinx Queer organization at the UofC as well. I am very proud to be participating as a research assistant in a research study with the University and the Portland Mayoral committee in doing research on Indigenous Experiences with Police.

What are you reading? What are you watching? What are you listening to? 


 Verge” by Lidia Yuknavitch is a book of short stories that exemplify the resiliency of people, particularly women. This book in many ways is about survival but more than that it is about thriving past survival and embracing the power that can be found when our humanity and worldviews are put to the test.



  Queer Eye” has consistently inspired me to look past the appearances of people and dig deeper into the emotions and experiences that make all of us human. Despite differing gender and sexuality this show truly encourages viewers and participants alike to move past these differences, to reach to understand the humanity in each of us. This show is nothing but a feel good viewing that will not only inspire you to dress better but inspire you to get to know people you may make prejudgements about.



Fawn Wood” is an Indigenous Albertan artist who consistently inspires me with her messages of hope, re-connection and the use of Indigenous musicality in every song she writes, sings and releases.