Unleashing My Potential to Change the World
by Isabel Hernandez
Today, I am a college graduate. I am a law student at Santa Clara University School of Law. I am a future immigration lawyer. I am a Mexican American – a child of immigrants – who is proud of my culture and cannot wait to fight for my people’s legal rights. I am what it looks like to unleash potential.
I am proud to be a part of Rocketship’s very first graduating class. I attended Rocketship Mateo Sheedy starting in third grade, and the skills and core values I learned have helped get me to where I am. Rocketship taught me and my entire class that we are not what our society consigns us to be. We are full of potential just waiting to be unleashed on the world to change our society for the better. For me, that’s going to law school so I can give a voice to the voiceless and fight for social justice in our legal system.
The skills I use every day in college and will use in law school were first learned at Rocketship Mateo Sheedy. Our teachers made college exciting – with cohorts named after schools, college spirit days, and the belief instilled in each of us that we could and would go to college. And whether it was to challenge myself to read higher level books with Mr. Nadeau or to live up to the very high standards and strict structures of Ms. Guerrero, that foundation built in elementary school carries me forward today.
Rocketship’s focus on academics wasn’t the only thing that helped me grow in elementary school – it was also our school community. Our teachers, every single staff member, and all the families at Rocketship Mateo Sheedy came together to look out for each other. That connection between home life and school was invaluable. If something happened at a Rocketeers’ home, teachers knew about it and would adjust our lessons and support accordingly. This created a special bond between teachers and students that made us feel seen, loved, and respected. Our teachers pushed us to succeed because they, and the entire community, knew we could – and they did everything they could to help us get there.
I got there, and thanks to the persistence I first learned at Rocketship, I helped get my mom there too. My mom graduated with her Bachelors in Nursing at the same time as I graduated with my Bachelors in Political Science. My mom had me when she was young, so she did not have the chance to go to college earlier in life. She was inspired by my persistence, my pursuit of excellence, and my drive to go to college, so she decided to enroll, too.
Today, as I prepare to enter one of the top law schools in the country, I carry with me the skills, values, and community of Rocketship. I am not alone in my achievements, but instead, I am emblematic of what is possible for every single child – children who look like me, children of immigrants, children who would be the first in their families to go to college, and every child who walks through those purple Rocketship doors.
I sincerely thank Rocketship educators for everything they do for their students every single day. Those students, like me, will carry that love, teaching, and expectations with them for the rest of their lives. I can’t wait to see how many Rocketeers follow after me and my first classmates in graduating college, pursuing their dreams, and changing the world.
Published on September 9, 2021