Attending Washington State University has been a dream of mine since I was in the fourth grade.
This is due to my fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Aguilar who helped shaped and mentor me into becoming the person that I am today. She was the perfect role model of someone who wants to strive to be their best and achieve their dreams.
Since then she has been one of my favorite teachers. She made me work hard and made sure I did my best every day.
Another mentor in my life was Mrs. Rosas. When I met her in the fourth grade, she operated an after-school program where you could get help with your homework on Monday through Thursday after school. I would go there to get my homework done and play board games with the other kids who attended the academic after-school program.
She always pushed me to do my best and encouraged me by saying I could be anything I wanted to be as long as I never conceded to failure.
We read books for an hour and we played fun activities. I went every day because I was eager to learn, read and have fun.
In my second year of the program, I became a volunteer. I helped kindergartners with their reading and spelling.
Even though I was only a fifth-grader, Mrs. Rosas believed I had the skills and was responsible enough to help younger children. I admired how committed she was to helping students who were behind and helped them catch up so they would be ready for the upcoming school year.
Her encouragement led me to start early to look toward and plan for college even though I’m only a sophomore in high school.
I want to go to WSU because Mrs. Aguilar graduated from WSU. I believe WSU did a great job training her so she could teach and help students. Because of her ability, WSU must be really a wonderful place.
In November, I was able to go to Pullman to attend the WSU Children of Aztlan Sharing Higher Education conference (CASHE), which is sponsored by the M.E.ch.A Chapter at WSU.
M.E.ch.A is a student organization whose main purpose is to promote Chicano/a achievement in higher education.
The conference was a great way to get an insight of what college is like. I heard about the CASHE conference from several peers of mine, and they have described it as an “amazing” or “unbelievably fun and interesting” trip.
The major reason I attended the conference was to get more information about WSU because I want to be the first high school graduate from my family and the first to go on to college.
Since no one in my family has ever had the opportunity to learn how to get into college, it is up to me to see what kind of courses are offered there, and get a better idea of what I would like to major in when I attend college.
Going to the CASHE conference also gave me the advantage of meeting and getting to know the faculty at the university.
When I was at CASHE, I also met many of the Latino students at WSU. I saw a vast amount of diversity that made me feel welcomed as a Latino. It is nice to know being different is OK at WSU.
By attending the conference, my doubts about going to college vanished and many of my questions were answered.
Two teachers really made a difference in my life by shaping and mentoring me into the person I am today. They inspired me so much I still help with the summer program. I look forward to waking up very early in the mornings this summer and helping students learn and have fun.
I also look forward to being able to attend WSU and work toward my dreams of higher education.
Christian Moreno is a sophomore and member of the Walla Walla High School Latino Club. He is a participant in the AVID program, and a volunteer at the Walla Walla County Fair and tutors at the Garrison Night School pre-literacy program.