By: Naomi Carrion
Editor’s Note: According to a study by the Pew Research Center, the number of young Latinos enrolled in a two- or four-year college has more than tripled over the past ten years. In the Eastern Coachella Valley, less than 29 percent of young Latinos are college ready, according to the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. High school senior, Naomi Carrion describes how her family helped create a college-going culture in their home.
The best gift I ever received was from my parents. Like many other parents in the Eastern Coachella Valley, they moved from Mexico to the United States years ago, working to create a better life for themselves and their family, and making sure that my siblings and I took the fullest advantage of our education.
Now, as a high school senior and soon the first in my family to enter college, I am very thankful for the sacrifices they made.
Education has always been important in our home and not going to college was never an option. Even when I was a child, my parents would tell me I was going to become a doctor or a lawyer. They would say, “You’re going to have a better job than us.”
My parents would tell me stories of their struggles in Mexico and how they had to leave school at an early age. They always told me to never stop learning and to continue working hard in school. It was an example they set for themselves as well. After coming to the United States, they were eventually able to earn their general education diploma (GED), learn English and even attend beauty school and trade school, all while raising my siblings and me.
As a child, I witnessed my parents struggle to afford basic necessities. They would see me worry and they would tell me that in order for me not to struggle like them, I would have to work hard in pursuing my education. Their words were as much a warning as a motivation to succeed.
It wasn’t until this year that I really understood why my parents continually pushed me to do well in school. They didn’t want me to ever take for granted my chance at a better education. Looking back, I’m glad they pushed me and expected so much from me because I have come to expect that much from myself.
Last month, I finished applying to eight universities. I won’t receive notices until the spring, but no matter the outcome, I will continue to work towards my goal of attending and successfully completing college.
As children of immigrants, we know our parents’ hopes and dreams are wrapped up in our futures. I can’t and won’t let them down.
About the author:
Naomi Carrion is a senior at Nova Academy in Coachella, Calif. Naomi joined Coachella Uninc. this fall as an apprentice and she is excited to make a difference in her community through her writing. Naomi also enjoys art and math. She hopes to attend college next year to major in math.
Read more: Creating a College Going Culture In Arvin