I attend Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, FL. Columbus was not my first-choice school. I wanted to attend another all-boys, Jesuit high school, but, unfortunately, they only had six open seats for the freshman class. I had to explore my options, and that was when I found Columbus.
My father was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at the beginning of my freshman year, and he was not able to work, and my grandparents were becoming very sick. Since my mother was the only person working, she decided we should move in with my grandparents. I wasn’t able to move with them because they had to make room for me, so I went to live with my aunt. It was an abrupt change! I struggled a lot, especially academically. Not long after, my mother stopped working to become my father’s full-time caretaker.
I had to do summer school freshman and sophomore year since my grades were so poor. My teachers were very accommodating and supportive, but they also pushed me to get my life back on track. While sitting in summer school my sophomore year, one of my teachers said to me, ‘You really shouldn’t be here. You’re a bright kid.’
Right at that moment, I decided to make a switch. I quit football and started taking AP classes and honors classes. By the end of my junior year, I had the highest GPA of my entire high school career. I had a 1.75 GPA freshman year and by the end of my junior year I had a 4.7. It was a long and hard road. It feels good to be back on track. I am really appreciative of how the staff here helped me, the guidance staff, the teachers, even my couches.
I recently found out that I receive the Step Up for Students scholarship to attend Columbus. I am really appreciative it kicked in at a time when my family needed it most.
I am waiting to hear back from a few universities, and I’m still thinking through what to major in. I’m thinking about marketing, economics, or law with a background in finance. At Columbus, each summer I was able to do an internship, they have really helped to shape what path I want to go down. I’ve done two internships in immigration law and at MOSS Tech, Inc. Both of my parents graduated from high school and college. They’ve always pushed me to attend the best educational institution.
Columbus is an all-boys Catholic school with a particular culture that works for me. Every school has their own culture. Every student needs to have school choice to be able to go to a school where they’re comfortable. I’m not saying that the school in their vicinity isn’t meeting their needs, but I think all students should have the right to explore their options.
I believe all students should be able to attend whatever school they want, especially if they don’t have the money to afford it. Columbus is a private institution, it’s not free, but scholarships, like Step Up and its legislation, allow students like me to go to a school that we couldn’t otherwise afford.
Look at where I am now, despite my rough patches. I am very happy.