High school senior and Boys & Girls Club member Alexa C. shares the obstacles she has overcome to get to this moment and why her graduation is not cancelled.
Four years ago, I wasn't planning to go to college. Trying new things scared me. Putting myself out there meant I could fail, and I never wanted to mess anything up. With three younger siblings who were counting on me, I wanted to be the perfect role model for them.
I started taking care of my younger siblings when I was 8 years old. We lived with my dad and were a close family, but it wasn’t easy.
There were times we didn't have school supplies for the year. There were times we didn’t have basic hygiene products. There were times we didn’t have food. The Boys & Girls Club made sure we had all of these things and more. They also helped me realize that being myself is better than being perfect.
Before I started attending the Boys & Girls Club, I second-guessed myself a lot. My Club mentors have helped me overcome that fear and realize that even if I do something and it doesn’t turn out perfectly, it’s OK because I tried.
That’s been especially true this year.
I wanted to get more involved in STEM activities, but every time I walked by the room where my school’s robotics club meets, I felt really intimidated. There were only boys in the program. What if I didn’t fit in? What if I couldn’t do it? I told myself I had to overcome that fear and just go for it. I was scared, but I walked into that room. Not only are all of those boys (and yes, one other girl) my friends today, but learning about robotics has inspired me to pursue a degree in computer science engineering. This fall, I’ll be a freshman at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and officially become the first person in my family to go to college. I’ve also been able to introduce STEM to more younger girls at the Boys & Girls Club which is really exciting.
Without the Boys & Girls Club, my life would be completely different. Not only did the Club encourage me to try new things, like robotics, AP classes and learning a new language, the staff inspired me to go to college and helped me make it possible. The Club also taught me that persistence is more important than perfection.
Several months ago, my sister was telling my dad and me about her day. Her teacher had asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she said she wanted to be like me. I wanted to cry because I always pressure myself to be the perfect role model to my siblings — to show them hard work pays off. While I've always tried to be perfect, I realized in that moment that I'm already a good role model.
While I’m bummed out about how our senior year has ended because of the coronavirus, I’d tell my sister and all the graduating seniors to be strong, to be brave and to remember that it’s not about being perfect; it's about how much effort you put in and how much you want to succeed in life. The next chapter may be a struggle, but there’s nothing we can't overcome. We've gone too far to give up now. We can definitely get through this and we will.
I'm prepared to go to college, but because of the Boys & Girls Club, I honestly feel like I’m prepared to overcome anything.
I want to thank everyone who helped me get here and those who continue to support my journey, especially my dad, my grandma, my friends and all the Club staff. Now it’s my turn to take the next step.
Graduation may look different this year, but it is not cancelled for all the Club seniors who’ve beaten the odds to get here. As we continue to help make graduation possible for more kids, help celebrate this year’s graduates by signing their graduation card.