The other day, one of my co-workers asked me how (and why) I ended up in my current position. I honestly love my job and have been an employee there for over five years. I contemplated her question for a bit, then responded, “Because I went to school to study business, and this position wouldn’t have ever been made possible for me had I not graduated from college.”
In my family, graduating from college was a BIG DEAL…I mean, HUGE! My father, one of eleven kids from Puerto Rico, came to Chicago when he was 17, with hardly any education at all. He finished the 6th grade in Puerto Rico before he had to quit school to get a job to help his large family. When he moved to Chicago (with little more than the shirt on his back) he soon enrolled in GED classes to obtain his high school equivalence certificate. That classroom is where he met my mom (a student teacher at the time), married, and then had four kids.
My dad always stressed how he wanted his kids to have every opportunity that he didn’t have, and definitely preached every chance he got how he wanted us all to attend college. Well, my youngest sibling is now 24, and I am happy to report that each and every one of my dad’s kids are the proud recipients of Bachelor degrees in a wide range of subjects: Business Management, Computer Science, Art History and Anthropology.
And, not only have we made my dad extremely proud, but we are the ONLY children on my dad’s side of the family than can say that we attended, and completed, our college courses. I can’t even tell you how many cousins I have out there, but you can imagine that from my dad’s 10 other siblings, it’s a lot!
There’s so much I have to be thankful for, due to my dad’s urging that we all go to college. My job, career, home, cars…everything has been made possible all because of an 8 x 10 piece of paper that proudly hangs on my wall. Having an education is so important in this country and I’ll never regret the decisions I made to make it happen.
Coca-Cola has had an extraordinary relationship with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund for more than 30 years and are committed to helping them meet their goal of having a college degree in every Latino household by the year 2025. Along with HSF, Coca-Cola wants to motivate people to get involved and help make a difference.
For those of you with college-aged kids (students 16 years old and up) thinking about going to college (but worried about the financial strain it may have on your family), I encourage you to apply for a scholarship via the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. From now through October 31st, students can apply for a scholarship by answering three thought-provoking essay questions. Students must reflect on how their heritage affects their career goals, the importance of education in their lives and their community service experiences.
Please share this story with those you know in order to help Coca-Cola with their goal to make sure there’s a degree in every Hispanic household. Just as my father’s encouragement made it possible for us, Coca-Cola would like to make it a possibility for you.