Who We Serve

Cendy de La Torre

There have been many obstacles in my life that have made me feel like giving up was the only solution: being a first generation student, being undocumented and, my biggest battle, the deportation of my father due to domestic violence charges. I felt like my family would never be the same due to the broken relationships that remained. Life seemed cruel and unbearable in my ten-year old mind, but through that intolerable experience I realized the importance of school. I witnessed the endless hours my mom had to work in a low- paying job all because she stopped attending school after fourth grade. I wanted a better future not only for myself, but also for my family.

Being a first generation student comes with hardships that some may not understand. In my case, my parents never emphasized the importance of education after high school. They cared about my grades when my report cards arrived, but they never really talked about a plan for my education to continue. I recall, in third grade, being excited to drop out of high school as a sophomore. I thought no one in my family went to school, why do I need it? But, as a result of my dad’s deportation, I concluded that the thought was unacceptable, and since then my motivation has proven to me, and many others, that there are no limits. Even though I am an undocumented student, I persevere in my academics. I am proud to say that I have a 4.2 GPA and I rank in the top 8% of my class. I was brought to this country to thrive and succeed, and that is my destiny!

In order to be successful in life, I need to graduate from a stellar college. I plan to have a profession doing what I LOVE – not a job that I dread going to in the morning. I wish to become a successful educator or even a lawyer. Like my teacher from fifth grade said, ”Do you want to be the person making the fries or do you want to be the boss of that person?” Although bettering myself is one of my main goals, I also want to become an example for other undocumented students. I want them to work hard like I do and never give up no matter how hard things may get. I want them to go to college so that they not only get paid well but also have the lives they always dreamed of. To do this, they need an example and I want to be that example.

Being in a program like College Track has showed me that there are no excuses. We need to remember that even though life may not be the best at times, it moves on and our futures are affected by the decisions we make. We can do anything that we put our minds to. I KNOW I can graduate from college if I am willing to go the extra mile and move on with the past. My past experiences have shown me that no matter how hard things get, I am willing to take another step and keep moving forward. I will not stop until I achieve my goals, and I will continue to motivate myself and those around me no matter the situation.