I began Citrus College without ambition in life. Much of this was due to my lack of motivation and the discouragement I faced through my family’s history of not pursuing a degree after high school. College after graduation was a dim possibility and at times a foolish idea. My biggest obstacle was the money. Coming out of high school my father did not want me to continue school because we simply could not afford it. However, I had a deep desire to continue and he suggested applying for scholarships to pay for it. During my senior year I applied for 12 scholarships but only received three. Those three scholarships, however, helped me through Citrus College until it was time to re-apply again. This personal achievement over my father’s doubts to provide my own funding propelled me with new determination to continue college.
I wanted to improve on my academics here at Citrus College and it was my struggle as an AB540 student that proved to be my motivation. I joined the Honors Program, and I knew that it would enhance my academic excellence on writing, thinking, and communicating. Though above all, it was the interaction with other highly motivated students that encouraged me to join the program. Interacting with these inspiring students showed me the importance of an education.
By being an AB540 student, I pushed to improve my writing skills, but furthermore, I developed into a more assertive leader. I am a mentor, a role model, and also, the president of HOPE (Helping find Opportunities in the Pursuit of Education) which works to provide a supportive environment for undocumented students here on campus. We guide them on their academic journey, as well as their rights as people. My contribution to improve academic opportunities goes beyond the walls of Citrus College. I am member of non-profit organizations, such as CHIRLA (a coalition for immigrant rights), and the California Dream Network (a statewide organization consisting of community colleges, Cal States and UC’s that work to improve policy in the educational system for undocumented students). I am also the Vice President for AGS, a Statewide Honors Society that helps students network with other honors students and partake in community service. In addition, I was recently elected Student Trustee of Citrus College with 90% of the student vote. This was possible due to my connections I had developed networking with honors students.
I strongly believe in education able to create leadership in regular students such as myself. I stand strong as one of the most respected and honored students on campus and the community. I also maintain a 3.93 GPA, and have earned a place in the Dean’s List multiple times. But more than that, I will also be the first member of my family to graduate out of college.
I believe that education should be given to individuals who truly desire it, regardless of income and background.