Cinderella’s life was changed by a magic wand, but for Lupita Velazquez, an ACE student at from South Mountain Community College, the opportunity for a good education is the “miracle” that is transforming her life.
“I always knew that I was going to go to college but I didn’t know how I was going to get there until I heard about ACE,” Lupita said. She was mentored by her late uncle, Erasmo Villavicencio, who directed ACORN, a community organization that works for social justice and better neighborhoods. Lupita credits her uncle with sparking in her a love for education and personal empowerment. He lovingly pushed her to study and to pursue her dreams. “There was nothing that I could not do, and I could aspire to anything that I wanted in life!” After her uncle’s untimely death, she says that it was ACE that was a motivating factor. “ACE renewed my determination. It helped me to get an inside, close-up look at what college life is like. It has made the entire process a lot less intimidating to me.”
Lupita has not only set high scholastic achievement goals for herself, but she has followed the leadership example set by her uncle. She is involved in Student Government and is Senior Class Vice-President at North High School. She enjoys her role as Yearbook Editor in Chief and President of DECA. In fact she listed so many things that she is involved with in school that one might wonder if she has any free time left after her many student activities. Lupita proudly says that she also manages to work part-time as a bank teller and helps care for her younger siblings. “I try to make time to help my younger brother and sister with their homework assignments. I always tell them how important it is to go to college and follow their dreams.”
Lupita works hard at keeping her Honors 3.8 GPA and affirms that she will be a lawyer and help her community attain social justice. “Through ACE, I’ve learned personal responsibility for my education and future. It’s a lesson that I will always carry with me.”