On Stands Now
July 2024

Questa  •  Red River  •  Cerro  •  Costilla  •  Amalia  •  Lama  •  San Cristobal

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New Youth Board Member: Karina Rael

Courtesy Photo Karina Rael, QCC’s First Youth Board Member

The Questa Creative Council has added its first Youth Board Member. Our Questa Reina, Karina Rael, daughter of Martín and Victoria Rael, was officially voted in at QCC’s quarterly board meeting in January. With a community service component to her Fiesta Queen reign, this seems a perfect collaboration for Karina. Her term of service with the Questa Creative Council is one year, with the option for renewal.
“I’m excited by this whole opportunity to speak for area youth,” Karina reports. “So many Questa kids are not involved with extracurricular activities, or with programs that inform about our culture. I think that learning about our culture can support whatever we choose for our futures.”

The QCC has a mission to strengthen community through arts, culture, history, and education. The culture of northern New Mexico is unique in this country. The degree of isolation during Questa’s history only heightened its development of a very specific way of life. Devotion to family, community, and faith helped guarantee security and endurance. Interconnectedness born of necessity is one reason the bonds with one another were traditionally very deep, and the loss of this can feel dismaying.

The years during which Questa did not hold Fiestas were tough ones for the community. Twenty-four years had passed since the last Fiestas in 2008. Despite the heroic efforts in 2023 of Fiesta organizer and Questa councilwoman Katrina Gonzales, much institutional knowledge was lost. Karina, our Reina, recalls a lack of detailed guidance on how to run, how to win, and serve. Happily, she has revealed herself to be a smart self-starter who is pretty good at making it up as she goes along.

Her new role with the Creative Council will also find her making up what exactly a Youth Board Member can bring to the table. Her official devotion to her culture will have many outlets here.

By establishing this position, the QCC creates a line of youth input, perspective, creativity, and experience within the organization. “We are grateful for the commitment of time, energy and expertise from Karina Rael, to serve her community in this way,” says Board Member Claire Cote.

Karina will attend quarterly board meetings that will provide her an overview of the organization and its inner workings. QCC hopes that the youth board member can be a multi-directional ambassador, helping the community get to know the non-profit while also helping the creative council better understand how to serve area youth.

Karina Rael is employed locally now, in Red River, and hopes to remain in the Questa area for at least the next little while. She never sees herself living in a city, but does plan to pursue welding at Trinidad State in Colorado. Karina was able to study this in her last year of high school when the program was inaugurated in Questa. Using welding to express artistry holds great appeal—work in creating sculptures really excites her.

We look forward to all that this dynamic young woman will accomplish this coming year and beyond.