Community Voices: From Ds to the Honor Roll

October 10, 2016
Chicago, Illinois
Community Voices: Jorge O. from Holy Cross shares his journey to valuing education.

 From schools to tutoring to scholarships, education is a vital part of what tCI programs support and develop. Today Jorge O. from the tCI community of Holy Cross shares his journey to valuing education, and how a mentor helped him believe he could succeed at school. For more stories from Jorge and other members of tCI communities, check out Community Voices.

Growing up, I didn’t see a purpose to school because I felt I wasn’t going to succeed in life. I always failed at a lot of my classes early in the semester and would just barely pass with a D. Due to the low-income neighborhood I live in, the fact that I am undocumented, and my grades, I saw no point in trying in school because I wasn’t going to succeed. I was probably going to make a living at a low paying job in my neighborhood, so what was the point of staying in school, collecting countless Ds?

I was so close to dropping out in junior year until a good mentor and friend of mine found out about my situation and helped me realize that school is worth it. He paid for my junior year school fees and told me that I shouldn’t doubt myself. I could do anything I set my sights on. My parents had told me this previously, but there was something different about the way he said it. It was probably because he connected it to something. I played for a band in our parish community, and at first I wasn’t very good at it and struggled. But through that struggle, I was motivated to get better. I realized that if I could get better at music after I struggled, then I could do the same thing with school. I didn’t want to stay in the same situation of wondering what it would be like to live a dream, so I decided to go for it.

I started my junior year like any other year with bad grades, and before starting the second semester I decided to set goals and try to aim for better grades. I remembered the words of my mentor. I studied for all exams big and small, took more trips to tutoring, and continuously double- and triple-checked my homework. I thought I had done enough to get a couple of Bs, but I underestimated myself because I ended up getting onto the honor roll. I now aspire to get a degree in creative writing in hopes of being able to release a book one day. I can’t get there without education. It is more than sitting in a class, memorizing things, and passing exams—it is about learning about the reality we can live in. It is about the connections that happen with people, whether they be classmates or teachers, who go the extra mile to help a student. It is about success.

The sky is the limit for me and any other students going for their dream in education. We choose to endure the long hours of studying, the huge payments for college, and ultimately giving our time to have the opportunity to grow into the leaders of tomorrow. Because of education, maybe I don’t have to wonder what it would be like to release a book one day, or maybe every single student won’t have to ponder what it would be like to “make it.” The sky is the limit. 

Consider making a donation to the tCI education program of your choice to help more young people like Jorge live their dreams!

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