Nearly six years after graduating from KIPP Houston High School, Maria Morfin now lives over 1,000 miles away from home.
Moving to Chicago last summer after graduating from the University of Houston-Downtown, Maria admits that she never envisioned the Windy City becoming her new permanent home.
Visiting her cousin who lives in Chicago, she decided to volunteer with KIPP Chicago’s first-year school, KIPP One Primary and KIPP One Academy. “I started volunteering with them to help with recruitment because they needed someone who was bilingual,” Maria said. This opportunity led to her being hired as the school’s office manager.
“Getting the job meant I was staying and embarking on this adventure,” Maria said.
Maria’s move hasn’t been as difficult of an adjustment as one may expect. At times, she reflects back to what one of her high school advisors passed onto her during her first weeks at KIPP. “I almost gave up on KIPP because I was not used to all the reading, writing, and communication,” Maria said. “One of my advisors said, ‘We’re going to stick together like Team and Family.’ I managed to stay, and I did really well.”
Following her graduation from KHHS in 2011, Maria served in a part-time role with KIPP Through College during her first two years at UHD. The experiences gained proved to be beneficial in college and continue to serve her well today. “Working with KIPP Houston while in college allowed me to love KIPP even more,” Maria said. “It’s one thing to like it when you’re in high school, but working at KIPP showed me the background and purpose of everything.”
Today, her new KIPP school has become a family away from home. And she concedes that she never had doubts when she arrived. “Coming to Chicago, I wasn’t scared or shocked,” Maria said. “I felt open because that’s what I learned in KIPP Houston – to be open-minded.”
As she continues to settle into a new city and career, Maria remains forever grateful to KIPP for the opportunities they provided her. “KIPP gave me the chance to be a part of a bigger family,” Maria said. “They never gave up on me.”