What does inspiration mean to you and how would you use your platform in your future career to inspire others?
To me, inspiration is synonymous with dissatisfaction. The force that ultimately drives people to accomplish great feats in life begins with an insatiable thirst for more and a deep-rooted desire to abandon the ordinary. Such dissatisfaction can be seen from leading figures whose burning outrage catalyzed events like the Civil Rights Movement, the Stonewall Riots, and the March for Our Lives Protests. When reading about such pivotal events in history, I can feel the frustration of Angela Davis, Marsha P. Johnson, and the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School emanate from the pages before me. The passionate fire within each of these individuals as they boldly rebelled against the general consensus is truly admirable. Very few can read up on the plights of such leaders without feeling inspired by their anguish and struggle for a better tomorrow.
Similarly, I decided my freshman year of high school to adopt a course much like these heroes in my daily life. Growing up as a first-generation student from immigrant parents, I’ve always felt a sliver of discontent when thinking about the limitations I would face on my journey towards my aspirations. Regardless, in the near future, I hope to build a solid platform in the healthcare industry that I can use to encourage aspiring future health-science majors. However, one of the biggest challenges I have faced as a current student is, without a doubt, networking. My parents and close relatives were all unable to achieve a formal education due to financial shortcomings, leaving their children with few connections to occupations outside the minimum wage pool. Throughout high school, I have worked diligently to make and maintain relationships with teachers, peers, and even coworkers. One of my clubs often invites guest speakers to present about their experiences and I hope that one day after graduation I can return to this club to present about the various connections I have made and the overall importance of maintaining positive relationships. More importantly, I would like to tell these future students about the invaluable role dissatisfaction plays in driving dreams forward. After all, without dissatisfaction to inspire positive change within a society, communities would fail to move forward and life would remain stagnant.
Ultimately, the most inspirational leaders started off as normal civilians with nothing but bitter discontent and a vision for a brighter future. Nothing is stopping regular citizens from reaching great heights except for their own unwillingness to sublimate their dissatisfaction into creation.
What are you currently doing to inspire those around you?
Having joined out of curiosity, the Latino Connection Club has helped me and hundreds of other Latinx students connect with their Hispanic heritage through cultural nights, guest speakers, and fundraising. Just last school year, for instance, we fundraised a donation of $1,000+ in support of the non-profit organization Border Angels. As the then treasurer, such a successful moment motivated me to run for president with the hopes of continuing the Latino Connection legacy of providing students the tools necessary to succeed. I had been deeply moved by the former club president and surely will return the favor during my term as president.
Under the sponsorship of a local American Association of University Women group, the Latino Youth Leadership Group (LYLG) is centered on community service and student leadership. Being a part of this group for the past 3 years has helped me connect with my community. I have spoken at womens’ conferences about the Latino Youth Leadership Group, attended the 2020 Celebration of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial, and helped out at food and diaper drives. Through my service, I have inspired many of my peers to also take on more interactive roles in their city.
A group that I recently joined this year is the student-led Student District Advisory Committee (SDAC). With the mission of creating a more inclusive educational environment, SDAC has addressed dress code policies, diverse literature, and accessible mental health resources in addition to various other inequities. Being a part of the Student District Advisory Committee has helped me realize the power students have when working together towards a common goal. Thus, after joining this group, I decided to co-founded the Ventura County Youth Network which is focused on the mobilization of youth within my county. First-hand experiencing the potential that students have to change their communities for the better inspired me to establish a new group. Several students (myself included) have since spoken out at city council meetings, confronting the mayor about student-related issues. I firmly believe that influencing young students to be more involved within their communities leads to a brighter future.
Lastly, I have been volunteering as a tutor since my freshman year of high school. Starting with the Study Buddy program and ending most recently with the English Language Development Center at Newbury Park High School, I have genuinely enjoyed leaving a positive imprint on each of the students I have had the chance to teach. When I was younger, tutoring wasn’t an option I had readily available to fall back on because my parents didn’t know of these educational opportunities and couldn’t afford them anyway. Being the tutor I wish I had had access to when I was younger is a duty that I truly cherish knowing that I am actively increasing the accessibility of educational opportunities for everyone.
The eagerness with which I approach my community service is something that I hope spreads to future generations who look to me for inspiration.
What you would do with the scholarship award if you were to receive it?
Just how my parents immigrated into a foreign country with nothing but ambition, I also have a dream that I desperately want to pursue. If I were to receive the scholarship award, I would use it to relieve some of the financial limitations separating me from my ultimate goal of attaining a higher education. Being able to study and work towards my dream career without the pressure of monetary shortcomings would be an incredible remedy to the anxiety I feel when thinking about affording an education.