Sierra High School student wins statewide essay contest
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Sierra High senior Jenny Estrada recently won a statewide essay contest presented by the California Continuation Education Association (CCEA). and#8220;How I Turned Failure Into Success at Sierra High Schooland#8221; is a heartfelt account of how being a student at Sierra High has helped her take on challenges in her life and use them to help her succeed. It was selected as the first place essay from about 20 submissions.
She was honored at the CCEA annual convention in Southern California last month. Although she was unable to attend, her teacher Ed Hilton accepted the award on her behalf. Hilton, who sits on the governing board of CCEA, read her winning essay to the crowd.
Estrada was also invited to attend the May 2 Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (TTUSD) board meeting, where she read her essay to a packed house; some members of the audience were moved to tears. She also received special recognition from Dr. Rob Leri, TTUSD superintendent and Chief Learning Officer and board president Kim Szczurek.
and#8220;Without Sierra High School, I would be an 18-year-old girl without hopes and dreams and without a plan for the future. When I look in the mirror today, I no longer see a waitress in a checked apron staring back at me. I see a young woman with promise and potential. I see me,and#8221; wrote Estrada in her essay.
CCEA raises money each year to provide scholarships to essay contest winners; this year $1,100 will be split up and awarded to the top three winners.
and#8212; Provided by Switchback PR + Marketing on behalf of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.
CCEA Essay Contest
Sierra High School
Enrolled Fall 2009-Spring 2012
How I turned failure into success at Sierra High School
Sierra High School has made me realize that bad situations don’t need to lead into bad results.
Being a part of this school has helped me to take on the challenges in my life and use them to help me
succeed. I come from a large family where no one has ever pushed themselves for more; they are
satisfied with a minimum wage job working long hours for low pay as long as it pays the bills and puts
food on the table. My family has fallen into the stereotypical, and#8220;Mexican Immigrantand#8221; lifestyles; my
sisters got pregnant and married in their teens, and my brothers do the bare minimum to have their nice
cars. Although they are good people, I have realized with the guidance of my teachers at Sierra High
that I want more; however, I need an education to have more.
At the traditional high school I attended in Kansas, I felt that my failures came constantly,
without stopping. In everyday life I hoped that someone would at least acknowledge me in school; I
just wanted to be seen. Meanwhile, I started to hang out with the wrong people who influenced me to
do the wrong things like drinking, fighting, and making other foolish choices. When I went to school I
felt invisible and lost with no way out; therefore, I felt that school was a waste of time and decided to
pay less attention to it. During class I would sleep, and whenever I was asked a question I answered
back with a rude answer. Most importantly, my failures were not just around school but at home as well.
I never saw myself going to college because at home nobody talked about it or seemed to pay
attention to the topic of college. At home I had to work for my money if I wanted something. So, I
decided to work as a waitress. Working as a waitress I made 80 to 100 dollars every day and I thought it
was good enough. Then I started to picture myself as a waitress and I felt it would be a great career. I
believed that it was all the potential I had.
In 2009, when I moved to Kings Beach, I had the opportunity to attend Sierra High School. It
was then that everything changed for me. For once I felt important, and I was willing to learn and
change my life around for the better. I felt that the teachers cared about my education, and that someone
was there to push me no matter what mistakes I had made in the past. Teachers like Mrs. Stonick
challenged me to work harder, to improve my English, and to not give up no matter what the bumps in
the road were. Similarly, Mr. Hilton has also help me with my math skills. When I first started at Sierra
High I was doing Geometry in his math class and in less then a year I completed two math classes, and
now that I am a senior, I am enrolled in college and have competed intermediate math and am now
doing College Algebra-a class required for first year of college students. The most important change is
that Sierra High’s staff made me realize that I have the potential to change my lifestyle and to go to
college. Sierra High School has provided me with the opportunity to take college courses while still in
high school. Now, I want to go to college and work in the health care field, perhaps starting as a
phlebotomist and eventually becoming an assistant nurse or even a registered nurse.
As a consequence of my academic and behavioral changes, my family’s point of view of my
education has also changed. My family has become more interested in my education and what my goals
are going to be after high school. They would like for me to be the first person in our family to graduate
from college. They also see the changes in me and realize that I have the potential to learn and to be
capable of bringing change for everyone in the family. My mother has also taken an interest in my
education and has told me to change my life and to not be an ordinary housekeeper like she is, but to
grab all the opportunities I have in life. I intend to do just that.
Sierra High School has challenged me to realize my potential and has exposed me to so much. I
have learned at Sierra High that the opportunities that education brings should be taken advantage of no
matter what. To do this I have learned to put my education first. Teachers at Sierra High School have
taught me to value my education and myself as well because they made my future their priority.
Without Sierra High School, I would be an 18 year old girl without hopes and dreams and without a
plan for the future. When I look in the mirror today, I no longer see a waitress in a checked apron staring
back; I see a young woman with promise and potential. I see me.
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