BLOG | Alicia Garcia
July 2, 2019
Life is funny when we realize it goes in full circle. In the seventh grade, the one year I transferred to a new school outside of my district, what happened could only be described as a stroke of luck. What happened after that – I attribute to hard work.
I had been nominated by my English teacher, Ms. DiDonato, to be a participant in a program called Pre-Collegiate Development Program (PCDP). When she first told me, I was in disbelief. It shocked me thata teacher with 300 other students had noticed the new kid and nominated me for a special program. She explained that she had nominated me because of my work ethic and knew that I would take advantage of what the program had to offer.
As soon as I arrived home, I eagerly waited for my mom to get home from work so that I could share the news & we could find out more about the program. When I told her, she seemed more excited than me. I didn’t understand at the time, but now I realize her excitement stemmed from relief.
As a single teenage mom, my mother never finished high school, and never went through the process of applying for college. For her, hearing that her 12-year-old daughter was nominated for a program guiding first-generation prospective college students through middle & high school was a gift, an opportunity that she never had. The program did exactly that, providing me with invaluable mentors who are first-generation like me, helping me learn college bound skills during high school and assisting with the college application process.
Now, as a sophomore at the University of Colorado Boulder, I work as a mentor for the very same program that helped me go against the odds of becoming a high school dropout and teenage mom. I’ve come to realize I influence other students like myself, just like my mentors had influenced me. I strive to be a mentor who positively impacts others, especially the students who come from the same community as I did.
Late into my freshman year of college, I decided I wanted to become a lawyer. However, I didnot know how to become a lawyer. I reached out to one of my PCDP mentors, Viry, who is also planning to go to law school. She eagerly told me about a program called Law School Yes We Can (LSYWC), and I felt relief. Knowing that there was another mentoring program to guide me in my endeavor to attend law school has given me the drive to work even harder to get there.
Now that I have been a fellow in LSYWC for a year, I can confidently say that I CAN go to law school. Not only have my mentors made an impact on me, but my class and those on the board who make this program possible, inspire me to do more. They have become my second family and make me feel like I am not alone on my journey to become a lawyer. Although I have yet to decide what kind of lawyer I want to be, I am committed to making time for the rest of my life to give back, as others have done for me. Because of the work I have seen programs like PCDP and LSYWC do for my community, and the importance of that work, I am certain that I want to be a part in giving back. One day, my second circle will be completed, and I will soon be working as a mentor for LSYWC, just as I am currently mentoring for PCDP.
“Sí, Se Puede” is a phrase born of farmworkers, who, under the leadership of the UFW, César Chávez, and Dolores Huerta, fought valiantly for equal protection under the law. As a result of the efforts of the UFW, “Sí, Se Puede” has become well known as a call that engenders hope and inspiration in those who face similar battles. We thank the UFW, whom we acknowledge to be the sole and exclusive owner of the Trademark SI SE PUEDE, for granting us a limited license to use“Sí, Se Puede” in connection with our efforts to recruit, in Colorado, students of Hispanic or Latino descent for our law school pipeline program. For more information about the programs offered by the UFW, please see UFW’s webpage (www.ufw.org); UFW Foundation’s webpage (www.ufwfoundation.org); and UFWF’s immigration services webpage (www.sisepuede.org)