Chapter One: Who were you?
Growing up, I was a regular person. I attended a basic elementary school called Marjorie H. Tobias. I had a few friends who I was close to. I spent a lot of time with my family and friends, played soccer every afternoon, and did my homework. It was a repetitive schedule that went on for years. My friends and I always used to talk about where we would go to middle school and high school together. We joked that we would spend 12 years together and basically grow up together. I never wanted to leave them because they were my best friends. I also never thought I was going to leave them, I guess that’s what you think when you’re so young.
All my life, my parents always told me to work hard in school and it will pay off. They encouraged me to always do my best on my homework, even though it stressed me out. As the years went by, this routine became easier, and I enjoyed going to school. Almost every day, my parents would bring up the fact that all this studying and dedication to school would help me in my future and allow me to get a better education when I get older. I didn’t think much of it because I always thought that I would just go to the high school in my neighborhood and continue getting good grades. Never in my life did I ever imagine that I would have the chance to attend Fr. Sauer Academy, and St. Ignatius College Prep.
My parents told me about Fr. Sauer Academy around November of 2019. I was stubborn at first and tried explaining to my parents that I didn’t want to go to this school because I didn’t want to leave my friends and I was scared that this school would be too difficult for me. I cried because I didn't want to give up everything I had to go to a school where I didn’t know anyone. I was afraid of change. After hours of telling me how good this school was for me, my parents told me that I had no choice. I was going to apply to Fr. Sauer Academy no matter what. I remember leaving the room and throwing myself on the bed, thinking what if I get in? I won’t have any friends and I am terrible at making friends. What if I’m the worst in my class? What if no one likes me? Then, my mom and dad came in. “Hija,” they said, “If you get into this school, you will get an amazing education that will help you get in your future.” I don’t know why, but at that moment, I wanted to go to FSA. “Okay, fine. I’ll apply.” When I said that I wanted to go, it shocked me as much as it shocked my parents. That day, I worked on my application and although I didn’t know that, this application was going to change my life.
Chapter Two: How have you grown as a scholar?
During my three years here at FSA, one of my best subjects was ELA. I really enjoyed it. I loved most of the books we read and liked the way my teachers explained it. In 6th grade, it was an easy class for me. In 7th grade, it got a little bit harder but I could still handle it. The AXES paragraphs we had to write were a little annoying because they seemed like a lot but over time they got easier. I was always used to writing a lot and giving strong examples and explanations. Then in 8th grade, after reading a few short stories, we had to write an essay. The essay was on what motivates people to do bad things. I was confident that I would get a good grade on this because I thought I was a strong writer. I understood the assignment and the readings. When I got the grade of how I did, I was really shocked. I had gotten a B. I didn’t think I was going to get that because I thought I had done well. The feedback I had received was that I didn’t include the best explanation for the quotes I used. My teacher saw more potential in me. I was disappointed because I knew I could have done better after reading the feedback. It was frustrating because I always put 100% into the AXES, but for some reason, this time I hadn’t done it to the best of my ability. I was sad, but didn’t let that bring me down. “The next essay that we will do, I will work my hardest on it and improve on what I struggled to do last time,” I told myself. I realized that I used the PLLUSS verb of persist.
When I was in 7th grade, and were in the last unit, we had to do a research project on one of the countries that follow the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or don’t do a good job on following it. I chose the United Kingdom. It was a difficult project because it was a lot to do, and required lots of our own personal time to work on it. Mr. G showed us lots of the previous classes’ projects and all of them looked amazing and like they took a long time to do. I was worried because I wanted to get a good grade since it was a big part of our Social Studies grade. I dedicated 30 minutes everyday to work on it, not including the time we got to work on it in class. I listened to every tip Mr. G gave us because I wanted my project to be really good. In the end, all my hard work paid off. I had received a 40/40, which was the highest grade that Mr. G ever gave out on this project. I was proud of myself for working so hard and thankful that it paid off. This was a life lesson for me because it taught me to always put 100% of my effort into everything that I do. It also taught me time management and perseverance. I was glad that I devoted my time to this project and happy with the result.
Chapter Three: How have you grown as a person?
I didn’t like to get my hands dirty, literally and metaphorically. I grew up in a type of bubble. This bubble was a protective space where everything was sunshine and happiness. My family always went out to hike and out to places with my friends and cousins. I had good grades in school, and everything was easy. Now that I was in middle school, things were different. I had to be more independent. I had to learn to advocate for myself and speak up when I needed help. It was hard for myself at first because I had always been shy when being in a new environment and having to talk to people. When I didn’t understand some instructions that my teachers were saying, I didn’t ask questions because I was too shy and scared. That meant I didn’t understand how to do the homework and that hurt my grade. Not only for school, but also for life. At the grocery store, when I needed help finding a certain thing that my mom asked for, I didn't like to ask for help. I don’t know why exactly, It’s just that I’m not comfortable with talking to new people. I have come a long way since 6th grade. Over the past three years, my social skills have improved a lot. I am much more comfortable with speaking. I also have more confidence. I ask questions when I need to and am not afraid to talk to new people. I am glad with how much I have overcome because it has made me a better person.
Chapter Four: What are your talents/passions?
Sports and art is where I find my happiness. Sports help me stay energized after a long, stressful day at school, drawing helps me express myself, and music helps me relax and calm down. I play soccer and when I have practice, I always come out smiling. My friends help me relax and have fun after a long day with a lot of homework. Playing also helps me let go of my feelings because I forget about them and just play the game. Most of the time, I am always looking forward to practice. Soccer is a type of stress reliever for me. It also helps my social skills because there are many girls and we have to interact with each other since we are on the same team. We all help each other out when we are having a rough day at school and they make me very happy. Soccer is one of the most important things in my life because it helps clear my mind.
Art is also very important to me. It helps me express myself and spill out all my feelings instead of keeping them inside of me. When I draw, it helps me show how I’m feeling instead of saying how I feel. When I read, the book brings me into the unrealistic world of fantasy and makes me forget about everything going on around me. Reading is one of my favorite things ever because it distracts me from the real world and makes me happier. Sometimes I laugh, get nervous, get scared, get excited, or get sad, but when I’m done with the book I feel really happy. Music also is very important to me. It inspires, and motivates me when I am feeling overwhelmed and tired. It helps bring my mood up and pumps me up when I am nervous about something.
Chapter Five: What does it all mean for your family?
When I got into Fr. Sauer Academy, it was a life-changing day. My parents were so excited and I felt elated. At that moment, I knew that I had to work my hardest to do well in middle school and to get into SI. My parents always told me that a great education was the prize of all my hard work. They said it would bring a good and stable future. Every life lesson they gave me was built around this idea of my future and what it means for me. My parents may not have much but they always made it clear to me that anything is possible if you have an education. I decided to interview my mom and talk to her about what it means for her to see me go to a rigorous and college preparatory high school.
Me: “After the whole high school application process, what does it mean for you that I am going to SI?”
My mom’s response: For me, it is a great happiness. All the hard work and effort you put into everything you do at school is reflected in what you earned. I am very proud for you and I know you will keep doing great things.
Me: “About 4 years ago you had no idea what was in store for me and now that you have seen all I have accomplished and where I’m going for high school, how does it feel?”
My mom’s response: I feel very proud of you and like the happiest mom ever. I have seen you grow up and I’ve seen you advancing every day to reach your goals and I couldn’t be prouder.
Me: “What is your advice for me now that I am going to high school?”
My mom’s response: My advice is that nothing is easy and you know that. You have to put in a lot of effort, try new things whether or not you know it or not. You will fall sometimes but you have to learn to get up and keep going. Never stop dreaming.
Chapter Six: Who do you want to be?
Who do I want to be? The question most people ask is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” To be honest, I do not know. I haven’t decided yet. I have many interests, but I still haven’t decided what I want to do with my life. But what I do know is that I want to be happy. I want to be proud of my accomplishments and be able to say that I lived life to the fullest. I don’t want to have a job that I hate. I want to travel to places like France, Peru, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and England. I want to help others any way that I can. I want to give back what people gave to me. Throughout life, there will always be challenges but I want to persevere through them. FSA has helped me develop my social skills as a person.