From Rocketship to a Senate Office: One Alumna’s Journey
by Estrella Luna, Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary 2007 - 2013
One day last fall, instead of walking into school, I had the amazing opportunity to walk into the United States Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. Instead of greeting my teachers, I shook hands with Senator Dianne Feinstein. Instead of talking with my friends about where we want to apply to college, I talked to US Senate staff about my parents’ immigration story.
Hello! My name is Estrella Luna and I’m a founding Rocketeer at Mateo Sheedy and current junior at Cristo Rey High School in San Jose. My Rocketeer journey started 12 years ago when my parents and I went door-to-door knocking to get signatures to open up the first Rocketship school ever. The school was on 10th Street in the little church where we had no AC, no lunch company, and no Learning Lab. Have you ever heard that phrase that Drake says, ‘started from the bottom now we’re here?’ Yea that was it – that was Rocketship!
Rocketship is where I found my passion for social justice. I was around 7 or 8 when I first started getting into politics because I always remembered that my teachers at Rocketship would tell us to speak up for what we believed in. I believed then, and now, that God made us all equal but not everyone had the same advantages as others. I took these lessons from Rocketship to Alpha where I advocated my love for learning. At Alpha, I was the only middle schooler in the TFA pilot program where I went to colleges and helped recruit teachers. Then I came to Cristo Rey, where I am active in student government, and where I spoke up for those who are undocumented and seeking asylum in the US by organizing walkouts, going to marches and speaking openly about my thoughts. I decided to march for those who were afraid of speaking up. I went to May Day, and even lead my own walk out here at Cristo Rey. When President Trump decided to stop DACA, many of my friends at school who are Dreamers were worried about not being able to continue with their jobs, schooling and much much more. I decided to advocate for those who couldn’t. It was such a beautiful and amazing experience seeing us come together as one fighting for each other.
This led me to Dianne Feinstein’s senate office one day last fall. I applied for and was accepted to take a trip to DC with my school. I spoke to Senator Feinstein about immigration policy and was able to share my parents’ story. Both of my parents migrated to the US. As with all immigrants coming to the US, they wanted better for themselves. Working hard in San Jose to support my brother and me, both of them lost their jobs while I was at Rocketship. Unsure of what to do, I went to Mr. Smith and told him that my parents lost their job. Mr. Smith then worked with my parents to help them start their own cleaning business. Today, Lunas Cleaning Inc hires parents from Rocketship who have the same struggles we did and gives them a steady job. My parents’ story is the story of the American Dream and I was so proud to tell it to Senator Feinstein.
I never truly realized how elementary school can impact my life so much, but if it weren’t for my teachers that always taught me to keep fighting for what I believe in, I don’t think I’d be the same person I am today. I want to leave you all with this quote that inspires me and I hope inspires you, “Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.” – BF Skinner
Published on April 1, 2019