Essay by Scholarship Recipient Carolina Siliezar:
Question: In what way has living and growing up in South Los Angeles impacted your life?
Living in South Los Angeles has impacted my life in a positive way because it has made me the person I am now. To begin with, going to college is not part of the culture here; having multiple jobs and working hard to get by is. My family and others don’t understand the importance of a college education and going away to pursue it. Talking about my educational goals to anybody in my family is a touchy subject because they don’t understand how hard it is to actually get there and succeed. Many of them think that going to college is not worth it because of the potential student loan debt that comes from going to college. This is extremely frustrating, considering how my culture calls for a big costly celebration on one’s fifteenth birthday while at the same time not seeing the value of saving for college.
Living around underserved schools meant looking for a school with better academic resources to benefit me in the long run. I chose to move from the school that was five minutes away from home, to a school that took about forty-five minutes to get to by train. The longer commute has been worth it because I have received many opportunities that are going to benefit me in my college career.
I am appreciative for growing up where I did and I wouldn’t want it any other way because I cherish what I have achieved a lot more due to having to work harder to get it. Being around multiple people who share different values from mine, has only strengthen my beliefs in education. I hope to one day come back to my community and teach them that higher education is worth the risk.