Beginning his collegiate journey over 1,600 miles from Houston last month, Sergio, a KIPP Generations Collegiate 2016 graduate, entered a new home, new state, and new chapter of life with a confident mentality.
“I’m not nervous. I think I’m pretty chill about it,” Sergio said two days prior to his leaving for Syracuse University.
Sergio’s confidence has been a part of him throughout his upbringing and even more so lately.
Jennifer Estrada, his college counselor even commented about it in a blog posted this past January.
“During the entire college application process, Sergio had a poise and confidence about himself,” Jennifer said at the time. “It was never arrogant, but showed his ability to be composed and resilient.”
Having never visited Syracuse prior to his move-in day, Sergio chose the college after he met a sophomore named Samantha while working at a camp two years ago.
While Samantha influenced Sergio to apply to Syracuse, his older sister, Linda, is the one he will rely on whenever difficult days arise this fall. She was the valedictorian of her 2013 KIPP Houston High School class and is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Linda truly is my role model,” Sergio said, “and I’ve always told her that. She overcame a lot of stuff being the oldest one, and she took all the responsibilities on her shoulders. She proved that no matter where you come from you can do it. I always kept that in mind.”
Many of his family members and friends celebrated his Syracuse acceptance, yet he never felt it should be celebrated.
“Since I was young,” Sergio said, “my mom incorporated the idea that studying is something we should always do, and that getting A’s, that’s nothing we should be praised about — it’s something that we should be doing. So that’s how I viewed getting into college.”
When he completes his four years of college, Sergio hopes to exit a new person just as he did when he graduated from KIPP three months ago. He expects KIPP’s lessons and values he learned to remain with him at Syracuse and beyond.
“KIPP is the right choice, especially for students like us,” Sergio said. “I think if you’re in KIPP, you should be grateful for it.”
To read Sergio’s blogs from last year see below.
May 24, 2016: Sergio: In His Own Words
January 28, 2016: Sergio: Persistent. Resilient. Driven.
November 19, 2015: Sergio: Fighting Against the Odds for Change
September 26, 2015: Sergio Valadez: Senior Year Journey