By Stephanie Serrano

Growing up in Reno, Nevada, and going to high school at Hug High School, diversity is nothing new to me.

I profiled Alondra Mora and Yaquelin Ramirez, two Latinas who will be the first in their family to go to a four-year-university. I truly think they are an inspiration not only to their families, but also to their community.

Stephanie-In-Action

Here I am getting used to all the cables in our first interview at Hug High.

They’ve worked so hard to gets straight A’s and also help their families at home.

It is so important to surround yourself with people that will motivate you to be a better person and strive for a better future. Which is hard for a lot of students. For many, it’s extremely hard to avoid falling into the wrong crowd and saying no to negative peer pressure every single day.

That is why I think Alondra and Yaquelin are inspiring. They choose to rely on each other and help support each other when motivation is far from them. They also prove that a true friendship doesn’t have to be envious.

During this project, my mentor, Nico Colombant, really helped me understand what elements you need to tell a story. He compared story telling to preparing a full course meal. Collecting interviews and ambient sounds is the appetizer and the two high school seniors are the main meal. But my story was missing its dessert.

This is why I decided to highlight both of the girls’ fathers in a special Spanish version.

I think it is amazing how hard their families are working to give them a better future and supply them with what they can to keep pushing.

It is important to understand that Alondra and Yaquelin don’t have the luxury of having a parent that can make their college schedule or help them register for classes. Let alone provide them with full tuition. But they provide them with so much more.

Their families work so hard to make sure they do not have an empty stomach during the day. They provide them with the hope they need to move forward. They give them the strength to persevere.

Listen below to the full interviews of the two Dads in Spanish.

Manuel Mora, Alondra’s Dad, works as a forklift operator at a local warehouse. He came to the United States when he was 15. His first job was picking lemons. He described it as the hardest job he’s ever had. So hard, he’d rather not think about it.

He goes on to explain how proud he is of his daughter.

“Sadly, my job does not give me too much, but thank god she is getting scholarships,” said Mora. “She is moving forward on her own. What we can give her most is our support. We are very family oriented and there are moments where I see her working very hard at school and at home. I tell her, ‘I know you’re tired, but you’re suffering now, you’re working hard right now so that in the future you can relax and you’ll be in a better place’. That is all I want for her, to be better than us. It is important to support her as much as I can economically but more important, to support her mentally. This country is filled with opportunities and since she was born here, she is blessed to take advantage of all of these opportunities.”

Noe Ramirez is Yaquelin Ramirez’s proud dad. He works in cement on city jobs. Having this job can be very precarious as it is dependent on the weather. So during the winter, he often struggles to find extra money for his family. His living room has a large wrestling mat were he enjoys practicing mixed martial arts and teaches Yaquelin and the rest of their siblings a few tricks.

“My hope is that she prepares herself to gain a brighter future, to succeed in life,” said Ramirez. “She constantly surprises me. She works so hard at school, she barely has time to help around the house but that is ok because it is for her own good. As long as she keeps trying and takes advantage of her opportunities, that’s perfect. I help her as much as I can. I don’t charge her for rent, I provide her with her health elements, I buy her whatever she needs because she doesn’t work and doesn’t have an income coming in. Everything comes out of her mother and I. We have five girls and we try to help all of them with what we can. Yaquelin has always focused and put a lot of effort in school. It is important to focus on school and work hard, partying and celebrating will come later.”

 

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