This month, beginning with National Charter Schools Week, we will feature stories from charter school graduates from across the country. Check back every day to see a new student feature in our 30 Days of Grad series.
My high school, Aspire Ollin University Preparatory Academy in Huntington Park, California, prepared me for college by teaching the importance of teamwork, communication, and accountability. These three lessons prepared me for the social interactions in college, to learn from my mistakes, and to work with various people who come from different backgrounds. Through my participation in student government, basketball, and in the classroom, these lessons have given me the tools to not only make it to college, but to be able to navigate uncomfortable situations. I have learned the importance of being held accountable for my mistakes and this accountability has shown me that in order to learn from your mistakes, you must first acknowledge that a mistake was made. Communication was the key for success in every event I organized, in every game I played, and every work project we had to do over the years.
I’ve received support from my family as well as from Aspire. My older sister has been the greatest support in my journey to make it to college. She has inspired me, supported me financially with what little she earned, and encouraged me to be the best. She has shown me what it means to transition into adulthood and to be mature. Her example is one I admire and want to imitate when my time comes to make that transition into the adult world. As she has gone on to college, she has given me helpful advice that has shown me the importance of studying. These skills I will take with me to college and apply in the real world.
Throughout my Aspire experience, I have also learned the importance of building a community. I’m a proud member of my school’s government. Starting as a 10th grade representative, I moved up the ladder to become elected vice president in my junior year, and with the help of my classmates, I am currently serving as the class president for the first ever 12th grade graduating class.
Our high school was just opened three years ago, and we were tasked with the challenge of building a community. We organized dances, pep rallies, and festivals in which our class came together. This experience has really shown me the importance of having a community that will support you and correct mistakes. With this in mind, when I enter the college setting, I will find a community that will support me. And if I can't find one, I will use the skills that I have learned in high school to build one.
College is important to my family and me because it will give me the tools to be successful and self-sufficient. Throughout my life, my parents have worked to support us the best way they could by working in low paying jobs that are exhausting. I have been living this reality. The struggles my family has to live through because of money has really impacted my life. It made me realize that the only way to succeed in this life is to achieve an education - because an education is the only way for me to have a future where the problems I have experienced this far will not be repeated. At Aspire, we all know that the plan is College for Certain.