Student Voice: “A Better Place” guest blog by Jackson-Olin High School’s Berucha Cintron

unnamedHelping make the world a better place is a vague, yet common dream among teenagers. But it is a real dream for me. Having seen and experienced the struggle first hand, I know what it’s like being down and I want to be the hand helping others up. I also see the corruption in our beautiful world and want to help be the improvement.

I’ve grown up in a Puerto Rican family, where being crazy and loud and eating rice every other day is not out of the norm. But with low income, many to take care of, and a mother who does most of it on her own, things haven’t always been so great for us. Being the eldest of my siblings, I’ve had to step up and take on responsibility, both family and school, for most of my life. It has always been demanded of me to excel in school, not just by my family but myself. I do not want to be another link in the chain. I will be the first in my family to graduate high school and go to college. I pursue that goal for my family, for my future family, and for myself.

To be able to accomplish this, I work hard and strive to get an excellent GPA. Being in a school that only has a few extracurricular activities means I have to work extra on the side with a very helpful teacher of mine. We prepare for both the ACT and the SAT in order to get into as many excellent schools as possible. College will not make all my dreams come true, but it will give me the skills needed for me to make a productive start. I want to excel in school, but not just for the title of being an overachiever or being better than my family, who haven’t had such opportunities. I want to set a different path for my family and those similar to me. I want to give them the confidence of knowing that your life is not predestined for you by the mistakes and different pathways of your family. It is possible to overcome the obstacles that hold us back from living the way we wish to and fulfilling our dreams.

There has been racial inequality, social unrest, environmental destruction, injustice, fear, and many things that need someone to care and give attention to. Though I am aware that my actions are those of a single individual and make a small impact on the grand scheme of things, I know that I will make a grand impact on those that I directly touch. As the inhabitants of this Earth, I believe we all should contribute in our own ways. All I want to do is make that contribution to my family, my global home, and my fellow human beings. The only way the above inequities will end is if someone steps up and takes notice. I want to break the chain.

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