Climbing Out of Poverty

How I Overcame It

I grew up in Houston, Texas and my parents sent me to public school. They could not afford to send me to a private school. Since they were eligible, I was able to get free lunches. Me and my older sister, being Hispanic minorities that lived in a poor neighborhood had to go to the schools that were not as good as the ones where the middle class and upper class kids went to. Although we excelled academically, we were still viewed upon as kids that would not be successful or will end up doing manual labor jobs. Well, me and my sister decided to prove them wrong.

The so called "cullture of poverty" did not describe our family at all. My mother valued education and always made sure that we did our homework and went to school. She didn't teach us to speak Spanish, so that we would not have any problems learning the English language or understanding our teachers. Back then, being bilingual wasn't important like it is today. My mother also did not believe in breaking any laws, so we didn't get into any trouble with law enforcement or participate in any criminal activities. She believed in hard work and honesty. Such virtues were instilled in me and my sister so much to the point of being a fault sometimes.

The belief that children from low income families do not excel in their academic endeavors was proven wrong by me and my sister. She was very good at mathematics and was able to attend a magnet school for engineering. I was good in English and art and won writing and art contests that were held by the school district. Eventually my sister went to college at Texas Southern University and received a scholarship for the School of Pharmacy. She is now a pharmacy manager for a major drug store chain. As for me, I went on to study fine art at the University of Houston and earned my bachelor's degree in May 2005.

My experience and my sister's is proof that one can transcend the predicament that they are born into. If you work hard and stay focused on what you want to do in life, anything is possible. We can't let society determine our future based on our ethnicity, culture or economic status. If only more educators felt the same way, we wouldn't have the problem of the "culture of poverty" and stereotyping of non-caucasian people.

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"Realm of Demons"

A pen and ink drawing that I did before I went to art school.

A Video of John H. Reagan High School

Video is from the school's website: