Students have big plans for Immokalee’s future

Posted 8/2/18

Over the summer, I had the honor of meeting 12 remarkable 2018 Immokalee High School graduates. These young women were attending Florida SouthWestern State College with four classes during a summer …

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Students have big plans for Immokalee’s future

Over the summer, I had the honor of meeting 12 remarkable 2018 Immokalee High School graduates. These young women were attending Florida SouthWestern State College with four classes during a summer semester. A summer semester is about half of the time of a regular semester, and usually students only take one or two courses in a summer semester. One student gives the reason for her motivation “My parents have worked their whole life in the hot sun for less than minimum wage to give us, their kids, a better life.” Some of these young women have an older sibling already in college, but others are first-generation college students wanting to inspire their younger siblings. These young ladies not only demonstrate a fervent desire to learn and succeed, but they all have a passion to give back to the Immokalee Community. One of these students, Esmeralda Francisco, an Early Childhood Education major, states: “Growing up I was raised by my father, this inspired me to major in Early Childhood Education. Not having a mother figure by my side is something I wouldn’t wish upon any child. So, me stepping in and being a helping hand not only by teaching children but to be there for them as well is my passion. After I get my degree I plan to host fundraisers and help those in need, such as providing water, food and toiletries. Also, getting to know families and just being there for them.” Another student, Childhood Psychiatry major, Anissa Avalos, was inspired to attend college because of her parents, “I came across a psychiatrist that worked with troubled youth. These youths are everything but trouble, they go through things that others don’t and that’s tough on them. I want to be able to help them hands-on with getting through their issues and let them know they aren’t alone,” Avalos said. Anissa is secretive about her plans to give back to the community, she quickly states: “Just know, once I get my degree, things will be different for the town of Immokalee.” Yasmin Ruiz, who wishes to become a doctor said she was inspired by Mr. Downing, a teacher at Immokalee High School. “I plan on giving back to the community by donating my spare time in volunteering at the clinic, becoming a mentor for the Immokalee Foundation, and to provide more material/resources for students so that they won’t have an excuse as to why they cannot/could not accomplish their dreams,” Ruiz said. Another medical student states: “When you look at it, people in Immokalee need medical help, and things need to be changed. Some of the parents in Immokalee work very hard in the fields or packing house. Some of them don’t have time to visit a doctor. They don’t have the money to pay insurance, medical bills, and medications. I want to help them by giving them the opportunity to stay healthy.” CSI major, Carol Galvan Leon was inspired to attend college by her parents and her sister. “My teacher for Criminal Justice inspired me to choose my major.” She found that she loved solving crimes and writing essays for the class. “I plan to give back to my community by donating money to those in need and the kids who need school supplies,” she stated. Ana Vega Arreola was inspired to become a nurse after she had her appendix removed. “It made me realized that I can help save lives, like they saved mine. I plan to give back to my community by coming back someday and talking to young people and give them advice about college. A small community can create big minds.” Maricela Busio states: “My parents inspired me to go to college since they did not receive education in Mexico, I enjoy helping anyone before myself. So {asking herself} why not be a college advisor or counselor? That way I would give back to my community and would be encouraging students to keep trying in school, no matter what hard obstacle there is because nothing comes easy in life.” Each of these young ladies has their own story as their inspiration to go to college and how they will better the future of Immokalee. Thanks to their parents and teachers, who not only instilled the values of a higher education, but also the importance of giving back to the community. As a community, we can look forward to students like these young ladies who are dedicated to make Immokalee a better place.
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