The New Year has already brought new and exciting opportunities for our Generation 1st Degree students. In just the first week of 2017, my husband Gilbert and I traveled with El Rancho High School student Bethania Perez to Washington D.C., where Bethania was inaugurated as one of Michelle Obama’s Better Make Room Student Advisory Board Members. We are so proud of her and excited about the fact that she is one out of 17 students, nationwide, to be appointed. This speaks volumes of the caliber of leadership qualities she brings to the Better Make Room Student Advisory Board.
During our trip to D.C., I got to watch Bethania experience so many rare opportunities for any student, let alone one of our students from Pico Rivera. As the day unfolded, it just got better and more unreal and memorable for her. She experienced snowfall in D.C., mingled in the White House in a room full of civic leaders and celebrities; and last but not least, she met First Lady Michelle Obama and got be part of history as we all listened to Mrs. Obama deliver her final speech.
We were all moved and touched by Mrs. Obama’s words. Listening to Mrs. Obama deliver her final words was an experience all of us will remember forever. As I look back and think about the words she shared, I can’t help but feel extra proud that Bethania will be continuing the hard work that Mrs. Obama has spearheaded for first-generation students. I also feel encouraged that despite any challenges or hiccups we may face as individuals, students or as a community, there is hope in the next generation of smart, ambitious and fearless leaders.
I hope that Bethania’s story will inspire other students in our community to aim high. Don’t be afraid to believe in yourself. Take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way. You may have to put in the hard work to earn that opportunity, but once that door opens, it opens up the possibility to so much more.