When my oldest daughter, Nayeri, started at YES Prep Southeast in Houston, it was hard to leave her old school and her friends. It was challenging to get used to the rigorous academic program. It was a transformation for the entire family to support our first student at YES Prep. As a family coming from a regular ISD school, we were not used to so much structure.
But Nayeri transferring out was not an option. In their charter school, my kids and I were surrounded by good teachers who set the expectation that university graduation after high school is a must.
It wasn’t easy convincing my daughter that she could accomplish anything if she put her mind to it. But Nayeri’s teachers stuck with her, too, and pushed her to overcome her fears. They gave their cell phone numbers to all students for whenever they needed homework help. Eventually, Nayeri got used to the new school and its workload. So did her brother.
At one point or another in their high school years, all three of my children wanted to leave YES Prep Southeast. They were frustrated by the rigorous academics. The college-ready seminars my children experienced were a massive change. They were disappointed to have two to three hours of homework every day, weekend homework, summer reading and more. But all four of us had conversations about why transferring out was not an option, because I knew this charter school was going to do great things for us.
I had to rise to expectations, too—attending weekly parent involvement meetings where I learned about the college process. My children weren’t the only ones with hours of homework! Eventually, the level of parental involvement required got me so involved that I started my career at YES Prep Southeast as a Certified Medical Assistant.
YES Prep exposed my children not just to college-level work, but to trips to colleges and universities which would never have been possible for our family to visit without their help. Hearing my kids talk about their college visits pushed me to go back to school. And being around their teachers gave me the energy and strength to make it happen.
Thanks to YES Prep, My Kids—And I—Are All College Graduates
It wasn’t easy having a full-time job at YES Prep, raising kids and going to college. That’s why it took me 10 years to get my bachelor’s degree in management. Afterward, I went on to graduate school. In 2014, I graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University with a dual master’s degree: MBA and Master of Healthcare Administration.
If it hadn’t been for Yes Prep exposing my kids to college visits and teaching them about programs and degrees, my kids would not have had the opportunity to choose the careers they wanted to pursue. And they have all achieved professional success.
My oldest daughter, Nayeri, received her master’s degree in accountancy from Northeastern University and now works at one of the Big Four accounting firms in Boston.
My middle child, Christopher, attended San Jacinto College and graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. He now works at the University of Texas Dental School.
And my baby, Kevin, took part in a program YES Prep offers to students with excellent grades. He won a full scholarship to Hamilton College and graduated with a degree in art. He is now starting a career in human resources with Vecna Technologies in Boston.
Our family’s 22-year journey with charter schools began when my baby sister attended YES Prep Public Charter Schools in Houston. Thanks to YES Prep, my sister, my three children, and I are all now proud college graduates. In my sister’s case, her journey led her to graduate from Northeastern University and come back to YES Prep Hobby as an English teacher.
The opportunities my family has received would not have been possible if we didn’t have the option to attend a charter school.
We need charter schools to help those of us that do not live in the right part of the neighborhood to get an excellent education, and I am glad YES Prep Public Schools was there for my family!
Rosa Nelly Martinez is the proud mother of three wonderful children and a charter school supporter. Rosa earned her bachelor’s degree in management, and in 2014 graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University with a dual master’s degree, MBA and Master of Healthcare Administration.