A Field of Possibilities

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Maria did not look older than twelve as she approached the interview table. When she revealed that she was a second year college student studying mechanical engineering, I tried to hide my surprise. As I listened to her talk about her science teacher, Mr. Diaz, it was clear that although she was young, she had lived through tough times.

When I was sixteen, a group of kids from my school went on a mission trip to Costa Rica. They came back talking about how poor the people were and the difficult living conditions. I wanted to scream that there are people living like that right in their own backyard. How could they not know? People don’t understand what it is like to grow up in a migrant family, especially for a high school student. The family moves three or four times a school year. Each time, you lose credits because courses do not transfer. You are ahead in some classes and behind in others. You are not able to compete for scholarships, and scholarships are your only hope for a better life.

Mr. Diaz was a migrant student who became a teacher. One day after school, he went to my home and explained to my family that I had a good chance if I could just stay here and finish at my high school. He convinced them to let me live with my aunt and uncle and to let me focus on my schoolwork. He made sure I had a ride when I stayed after school for STEM club. He even helped me with college essays and applications.

Now I am a college sophomore and one of five girls in my engineering class. I know that I have to work harder to prove myself because I am a migrant and a girl, but I am grateful to have this chance. I want to do well so that I do for other girls what Mr. Diaz did for me. My dream is to start a foundation to support migrant girls and help them go to college.

Teachers like Mr. Diaz send out karmic ripples, not knowing how far they will reach.This is how teacher impact is multiplied. When one student is helped, that one may go on to help hundreds. And it's teachers like Mr. Diaz who give kids like Maria the chance to realize a dream. How did a teacher help you reach a goal or fulfill a dream? Share in the comments below.

Wishing you an endless supply of chalk and chances-
Julie

Where did the stories in the Chalk and Chances project come from? Find out here.  

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