I believe in sacrifice. I think it is essential to achieve one’s goals and to overcome obstacles in life.
I was born and raised in El Salvador, a very small country in Central America, and moved to the United States two years and two months ago with my father, mother, and brother. It has not been any easy for either my family or me to adjust to a completely new culture and carry the pain of leaving everything we grew up with and that we still love. But I learned that there is much more need in the youth community today than ever before.
About 50% of ninth graders drop out of school according to LAUSD statistics, and the number keeps growing. This fact made me realize that there is more than just myself to worry about, and more to do for others than myself.
For this reason I have been involved in a leadership homeroom that reaches out to ninth graders. We share our experiences in high school and how our point of view about life has changed now as seniors: we are bound for college and we work towards preparing ourselves for our futures. As a mentor of ninth and eleventh graders I had the most rewarding experience I have had throughout my two years in this country because I have been able to give back a little of what my high school gave me, and to show my gratitude by actually taking part of someone’s life is something I will never forget. Every time I got together with my ninth graders I tried helping them in everything they needed, whether it be English or math, science or art, I could always lend them a hand and guide them through. I would also give them advice about what kind of students they should be in high school, those that are not carried away by the tide.
As pioneers of this leadership program in my high school, we were in charge of many responsibilities. These included events, follow-up with the ninth graders, etc. The events I was involved with were various and very fun. I remember back in February we had a Movie Night, and we showed the Dark Knight movie in the auditorium and they asked me to dress up as the Joker! We had lots of fun that day because another friend dressed up as Batman and both him and I went out to “fight” each other to attract people to come watch the movie. I designed the posters and fliers to announce this event and we posted them all throughout the school and also made a sort of trailer announcing this event. I have never had so much fun.
Another event we had was Parent Night, in which parents talked with their sons’ teachers. What we did was to give out cookies, bread, and drinks to anyone who came by while in the background we played trailers of upcoming events.
There was this other time that we got to go to UCLA to watch the Klezmatics playing live. I also designed the posters, fliers and video to announce this event.
Another time we had a potluck with our ninth graders. It was a great moment for us to share with them to get to know them better and just relax for a while from school work.
I learned a lot from al these experiences. Besides being able to improve my graphic designing skills, I learned to sacrifice my time, my effort and myself in general to others who really need it. My biggest sacrifice, however, was El Salvador, leaving everything and everyone I care and love in search of better opportunities and even a better future for my family and friends that still live over there.