Sergio: Fighting Against the Odds

by Ariel Reynolds on Nov 19, 2015

in Our KIPPsters

Remember Sergio? Our smart, hard-working, kind, KIPP Generation's Senior who is on a journey to and through college. Sergio completed his college applications with an essay that shares even more of his story. Read Sergio's powerful words below. 

Prompt: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

I believe my background is a vital factor of how I am and hopefully of how I will be. My application would be incomplete without my story. 

What was just supposed to be an innocent drive through the neighborhood turned into a nightmare. As the cop put the handcuffs on my dad’s wrists for driving under the influence, he made my dad seem like a bad guy, a villain, like any other criminal. That is not my father. That is not the man who gives me a kiss goodbye every morning before going to his exhausting, fourteen hour job. That is not the man who I would cheer out of elation with when our favorite soccer team scored. Throughout my childhood I had various encounters with law enforcement. Growing up, I didn’t understand how in the current judicial system, my father could be in the same cage as a murderer. In each situation, I wish I could have known what was happening and how we, as a family, could have better dealt with our predicament. That is why I want to pursue law. I want to use my education to provide the support that my family and countless other families desperately need in moments of despair and confusion.

One in every three inmates is Hispanic. I believe that most of these people are incarcerated because they do not fully understand their legal rights and could not get a dedicated lawyer that would guide them through complicated legal procedures. Most Hispanics do not have the resources to obtain legal advice of sound quality and are perpetually recycled back into incarceration, propagating the stereotype that Hispanic men are criminals. As a Hispanic, it is upsetting reading such statistics, but the statistics themselves have fueled my motivation to not become another number supporting them. I believe pursuing a law education that equips me to think analytically and then to act with judicious execution paves a gateway to a better tomorrow. This new caliber of knowledge, that can easily transcend the business sphere, allows me to help myself and others in low-income communities through distressing situations.

Having been exposed to an environment where most of the men I knew or lived around have been arrested at least once, instead of succumbing into this cultural effect, I know I want a different life. Having cops on surveillance throughout my neighborhood while I was growing up reminded me of their constant presence. Through my experiences, I have come to understand that merely having better resources isn’t enough to affect change, but rather utilizing them strategically is what really makes the difference in social impact.

I identify myself as all that has been stated: A statistic, a Hispanic, a minority; but most importantly, I identify myself as a fighter. This drive to overcome socioeconomic barriers motivates me to pursue excellence for myself and my community. Using my education to help those who don’t have access to sufficient resources is an interest for me and forever will be due to my experiences. I hope to use my education to provide awareness and community relief during and after college because I understand the pain that comes with ignorance. Overcoming poverty isn’t just about making money, rather, it’s about receiving the right education and knowledge that empowers people from all walks of life. I hunger to thrive in this life even though the odds are and will be stacked against me. I accept the challenge and I will succeed.