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Commentary: It Takes All Of Us

<p>The support of a great community, full of people willing to step in and lend a hand, is a motivator for student success.</p>
Photographer: William Perugini

It takes all of us in the community to ensure student success. As students, we often come across great teachers and have wonderful parents encouraging us. But knowing we have a great community, full of people willing to step in and lend a hand, is a huge motivator for our future success.

I relied on my community after my parents were deported my freshman year in high school. Being apart from my family was not an easy challenge to overcome. But, as the oldest of three children, I decided to take responsibility for my siblings, quickly becoming a brave adult by staying in the United States. I knew that if I was going to stay here, I was going to take all the opportunities that came my way. That’s exactly what I did with the help of my community.

My varsity soccer coach, Mr. Kartler, introduced me to JAG, Jobs of America’s Graduates, a career association program that has transformed my life. With the help of JAG's community and my own self-motivation, I got my first full time job and earned 22 college credits before even graduating from high school. More importantly, JAG helped me overcome adversity.

Now most teachers and students look up to me as a leader and as a role model for others who come across my same situation. My advice is to take all the opportunities you possibly can because, in this country, with help of the community, along with hard work and determination, everything is possible.