Growing up in a Hispanic based culture and attending inner city schools all my life, I experienced firsthand the unfair ways of the education system and society. Our changing times have led to the stereotypes of the Hispanic population, as well as other children in the urban community, and the criticisms of our potential in school. Stereotypes typically indicate negative perceptions about this community -less productive in school, lower test scores, more physically violent. This reality inspired me to seek an internship with Pages & Chapters in hopes of making a difference in the urban community.
A couple of years into my high school career, I learned to balance what was becoming the reality of my situation. During my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I allowed myself to not only fulfill, but also reinforce, the stereotypes held about the potential of children in inner city schools. The apathy I showed in the classroom was not an accurate reflection of the devotion I have to achieve my future goals and aspirations. Day-in-and-day-out, I allowed myself to sit in the back of the classroom with my headphones plugged in, while I laid my head down: not participating. I was disengaged. At the end of my sophomore year, I realized I was perpetuating the very stereotypes I wanted to stand up against; I set out for a change.
My epiphany came my sophomore year after receiving my grade card in the mail and seeing the disappointment on my parents’ faces. This was just the motivation I needed. I knew then that my past years in high school would have a strong effect on my future goals. My junior year of high school, I dedicated myself to reversing the stereotypes that I had perpetuated about the urban community. The feeling of accomplishment kept me driven throughout the year, not only to become a better scholar in school, but a positive role model for my sister, a pleasing son to my parents, and an example of the urban community’s academic ability.
I now attend Missouri State University and hope to make a difference as an intern for Pages & Chapters in schools where little help is given, and stereotypes speak louder than the academic ability of those children. Pages & Chapters offers me the appropriate environment to help expand the youth’s mindset and lead them down the right path to show them that there’s a whole world beyond their neighborhood radius. Change starts with the youth and it continues through education.
Striving for change,