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PROGRAM — Charter School

When I think of my path in education, I automatically think of my parents first. Both my mother and father were born in Mexico and never had the opportunity to finish school. They were forced to work from a young age to help support their families. Every summer they would migrate to the United States to work in labor camps and the fields. Eventually, they decided they wanted a better life and Idaho became the place my family would call home.  

Shortly after I was born, my parents experienced every family’s worst nightmare: My sister passed away. My family was heartbroken, but we had no choice but to keep persevering. My parents always wanted my brothers and me to receive the best education, but it seemed impossible to find good options in our area.  

We always attended the schools we were zoned to attend, but they were never a good fit. My oldest brother dropped out of high school and my other older brother was forced to attend an alternative school.  

I was headed in the same direction.   

Being the only daughter in a Hispanic household made me feel like I had a huge weight on my shoulders.   

I felt as if I was my parents’ last chance to prove their sacrifices were not in vain.  

In my first year of high school, I struggled to understand the material being taught. Sadly, none of my teachers seemed to notice. They would only focus on those who understood the material, meanwhile, everyone else was left to figure it out on their own.   

I was so frustrated that I started looking for other options. I found a new public charter school that had opened that same year. At first, I was skeptical to even apply. I always thought charter schools were for rich college-bound kids.   

Not kids like me.   

I started attending Elevate Academy, a hands-on trade school in 2019. At first, my teachers seemed too involved in my life for me to be comfortable.  I didn’t like the idea of allowing these strangers into my life. Although I fought it, my teachers never gave up on me. I started to really build a connection with everyone in the building. I even began to understand what the teachers were teaching.   

Elevate allowed us to take multiple trades to find our passion. I specifically found my passion in Criminal Justice. Growing up where I did, the last career path I thought I would choose was anything to do with criminal justice. By my junior year, I was part of our school’s youth court and was considered a role model at the school. Then I wanted to challenge myself by attending a quasi-military school for six months where I would have the chance to earn 14 high school credits before returning to my charter school.  

Elevate Academy has a motto “Next Step Ready,” which means always having a plan for the next part of your life. For Elevate graduates this can be college, military, trades, or a job. I never thought I would attend college, because everyone I know who looks like me ends up working in the fields. I often heard, “Nobody has ever needed a book in the fields.” But thankfully this is not the case for me, and I hope to help other kids like me realize their potential.   

Now I am attending a community college and I plan to transfer to Boise State University next year.   

Because of school choice, I became the first person in my family to attend college where I study Criminal Justice. I plan to transfer to Boise State University next year so that when I graduate, I can build a career working with other at-risk youth in my community. 


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