For today’s installment in our series, The Secret Lives of Students, one student writes about the value of meeting people who came from poor neighborhoods and went to college.
Editor’s note: This post was written by high school student Katerina Sanchez who is participating in the College Bound program with Breakthrough Miami.
By Katerina Sanchez, 14
On Friday, July 20th about 35 9th grade students were invited to attend a meeting at the University of Miami Sports Medicine Center.
We were picked by our Breakthrough College Bound teachers to learn about peer pressure, leadership, and our plan A and B. About 10 speakers, including the Marlins Vice President and a professor that taught sports at the university, were speaking to us.
Many of the lecturers came from poor areas. They lived in the hood but were able to rise above the rest and not fall into drugs or alcohol. They managed to do very well in school.
After high school, many of them attended and worked hard at well-known universities.
These great leaders, now have high positions, and are all in sport-related fields. I found this very inspiring knowing that I’m lucky enough to have a great support system, being able to rely on my family for help.
The speakers were able to convey their message throughout the crowd of about 130 students, freshmen to senior, all sitting in a big conference room.
About every two hours we would participate in an activity to help us get to know some other faces. We had to move around the room and sit down with some other people, but mainly we stayed near our group, a bit too afraid to sit next to the older kids.
We also took part in playing bingo, a new one that we had to involve ourselves in communicating with others to find a certain thing.
For example we had to find, a sophomore, or someone who owns a championship ring. They would write their names and then we would move on until our bingo sheet was completed.
Finally, we had a delicious lunch, with many different foods to choose from. They included hot dogs, burgers, macaroni, potato salad, and much more. After lunch it was already time to go. I learned many significant things to help me succeed in life and as a leader, including not being influenced by peer pressure.
And very importantly, we learned a key to being successful: you must make yourself learn that life will not always be easy and to do that you have to sometimes be above your comfort level.
Sanchez is a student at Coral Reef Senior High School.
All month we’ll hear from students about life in Florida schools. They make an argument for larger school lunch portions for hungry students, open up about getting punished as a class when one student acts up, and other aspects of school life.