Pele, seen as the greatest soccer player of all time, once said that, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” If I had to choose a quote that encapsulates my educational and life journey, this one would fit right in. It captures the six elements that are absolutely indispensable for success: hard-work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and love. By carefully examining these elements you will notice two things-- they are intrinsic and they are active. What does this mean? That they come from inside of you and you must pursue them with tenacity.
I share this with you because I represent a defied statistic. I’m Hispanic, from teenage and divorced parents who did not graduate from high school. I grew up moving from place to place. I did not speak English. I did not have the supportive home environment that nurtures success in the classroom. Life was a struggle for survival everyday. I began to realize that the only way out of this life was through education. I had to push through the obstacles of my statistics and the gaps in my education. I did not possess enough academic language or writing skills to feel competent in my subjects. The six elements for success became my weapons to defend myself against defeat and despair.
It took 6 years for me to complete my bachelors in Anthropology from City College of New York. It took almost 5 years for me to complete my first Masters of Science in Second Language Education and 2 years to complete my second masters in Literacy 5-12. If you add the 12 years before college, it adds up to a total of 25 years of education. That represents more than half of my life! And I am not finished yet. My next goal is to become Dr. Caraballo. Why? Because I want to leave a legacy that it is possible to overcome the negative statistics of our lives and create a different life for ourselves.
As you begin this school year, examine yourself, assess your obstacles and then choose to defy them.
Welcome to English 11 in this new school year. I look forward to your response.