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My Family Didn't Think We'd Choose a Charter School But It Turned Out to Be an Amazing Experience

I never thought I would attend a charter school until my mother decided to enroll me into YES Prep Public Schools in Houston. At the time I didn’t know what a charter school was, but she knew that it would benefit me in the long run. 

As a mother who did not graduate college but wanted her child to have a better and brighter future, my mother knew that this was going to be a great decision, even if, at the time, I didn’t realize it. She could see the amount of time they invested in their students, how they supported students, and the strong foundation and future this school could give me. For me, this unexpected charter experience turned out to be completely amazing. 

When I arrived at YES Prep, I could tell that it was a huge shift from what I was used to. My charter school did as much as it could to prepare us for what college would be like. That included classes giving us difficult work or giving us more school work than I had grown to expect, but this was done to help simulate what a college environment would be like. I am thankful for their efforts. They shaped my work ethic, so I didn’t have to struggle to find it in college.

My School Gave Me Supports and Challenges

My school offered us supports, too. Teachers would help students by staying after school or helping students work on assignments during their lunch period. Each class of students—freshman, sophomore, junior, senior—would have its own small rally to celebrate how each member of the class had improved or excelled in some way.

In addition to these kinds of supports, my school offered us the chance to earn opportunities to discover potential colleges. They would send students across Texas and the whole United States to explore different colleges and universities we were interested in attending. I enjoyed traveling to see which university I would ultimately attend, but in order to have that privilege, I had to make sure my grades and behavior were in good standing.

I’m Passing On the Lessons My School Taught Me

It was because of the effort of my charter school that I was able to make the dean’s list at Iowa State University, graduate with a 3.0+ GPA and work at HP Inc. as a software engineer. 

Now that I have graduated and found employment in my degree of study, my younger brother and cousins are following suit. They are attending the same YES Prep charter school that I attended with the goal of getting a similar, if not better experience. When it is their time to go to college, they will be ready. They will be ready thanks to the foundation YES Prep has given them, and thanks to the help I can give them as both an alum of their school and a recent college graduate.

Juan M. Venegas III attended high school at YES Prep North Central and graduated in 2013. After high school, Juan received a bachelor’s degree in software engineering from Iowa State University. While attending college, he was a member of Theta Delta Chi and attended various clubs including the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Mobile App Developers Club. Juan graduated from Iowa ...

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