José never pictured himself as a college student, but his journey at the Carlos Rosario School led him to make the unexpected choice of returning to school. He broke through barriers to become the first person in his family to pursue higher education, something that was unimaginable to him only a few years ago.
In 2008, while still in middle school, José moved to the United States from Guerrero, Mexico. His only goal: Make money for his family. José thought that made sense and focused his energies on quickly finding a job and helping his family back in Mexico. However, soon he began to see that this path was not the best solution because of the language barrier he faced. José was not able to communicate with anyone and could not even go to the store to buy groceries. He realized that he needed to learn English first to interact with people. That would be the key.
José enrolled as a student at the Carlos Rosario School in 2011. He took ESL classes from level 2 to 7 and then the Technology Career Training program. According to José, the best part of these courses was that they not only permitted him to improve his English speaking and writing skills, but he also gained Microsoft Office skills. José was able to grow from a dishwasher to a busboy at his job with his new skills. At the School, his confidence improved after meeting students from around the world who were in the same situation.
That confidence encouraged José to dream bigger, and with the support of the Carlos Rosario School, he started down a new path – college. José reached out to the School’s Student Success team for assistance with the application process. With the help of his “awesome mentor”, Selvon Waldron, “who always is helping him to succeed,” José achieved his goal!
Although José was excited to go to college, he faced a massive challenge, how to pay for it. José’s parents were counting on him to get his degree, but his mother especially was afraid about the cost of higher education. She was wondering how his son would be able to afford his studies.
Jose was awarded a scholarship through the Carlos Rosario School’s Scholarship Program. Thanks to this, José was able to begin his studies in Computer Sciences at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). After earning an associate degree, he is now studying Electrical Engineering with a computer engineer option. “The School (Carlos Rosario) provides me the essential tools to keep moving me forward and financially supported,” says José. He plans to earn his bachelor’s degree in two years!
Last summer, José started an internship at DC Prep Public Charter School. It was his first hands-on job allowing him to apply all the theory he learned at the Carlos Rosario School. Now at DC prep, José is improving his electronics skills and has more control of his own network. Soon, he will be ready to do his own repairs.
Being the first person in his family to attend college is a source of immense pride for José. His advice to others who may be the first in their families to go to college is this: “don’t be intimidated and enjoy the ride while you are in college. Being in college is a great experience and a sacrifice for your own education to take care of family.” José hopes his parents and others see him as “an inspiration to break any barriers in life.” He certainly is an inspiration to us!
You can also build your skills at the Carlos Rosario School… click here to get started!