Scarlett Cervera

My name is Scarlett and I attend SFSU and today I plan to inspire you.

How many of you know what the cycle of life is?

For most actually, for many in this room the cycle of life goes a little bit like this, be born, go to school, go to college, work, and have a family.  As a matter of fact this is what the United States life cycle “appears” to be.

However, let me enlighten you what the cycle of life is for many of the students sitting by my side receiving this scholarship.  Let me start off by telling you that these students right here just made history today, not on the news, not on national tv, but they just impacted the most unbreakable and resistant life cycle of all, their parents’ history.

Are you ready to know why?

I am 20 years old, AB540 student, and unfortunately at one point I lost my sense of belonging, my identity, encountered struggle in school and battled the streets.  I was born in Leon Guanajuato and was brought here when I was 2 years old.  I lived in a single parent household, with my mother and sister, I lived in fear all my life, seeing my mother in depression, having to be that one kid in school who was below basic in every subject, I had to become a mother to my own family, I matured at a young age, never once did my mom help with homework not because she didn’t want to but bc she couldn’t, She never finished grade school.

So you must wonder how?  How did I turn out to be this person.

The only thing holding me together every day of the year during grade school, was walking down the apartment to church and praying, praying that things will get better.  Two of the best teachers who I call my angels turned my below basic scores to advanced in both language arts and math 4th grade all the way until 6th.  I did the extra work, long after school hours and weekends too.  It was worth it; I graduated from high school and attended college.

I told you my story for one really important reason, I just told you and showed you what I can do, but have I told you what my mom has given up in order for me to be here and be the person I am today?  If i told you, you wouldn’t believe me.  Let me give you a glimpse of what my life feels like at times.  One person once told me this and I couldn’t have said it better.

He said, “ We immigrants come to this country thinking of opportunities and a better life for our children and family.  We come here and break our necks every day under the sun, inside a warehouse doing labor work, where we go unnoticed just for others to be noticed.  We take long shifts, 12 hour, 18 hours and we do it for more than 30 years receiving the same paycheck or less at times to bring food to the table. In hope that we could help our families we left back home with financial and medical needs to just to hope one day to be back with them and enjoy time with our parents back in our countries.  However before we know it our parents are old and we can no longer enjoy time with them, because at this point we have put all our time and effort into saving money and busting our asses in work and little do we know that the next to years we will see our parents tied down to a machine, dilating their lasts hearts beats and enjoying their last smiles in a 4 blank wall hospital room, and the next they are gone. So now let me tell you, in this story we students are the children, how long will it take it to enjoy time with our parents, when they are not working or plugged to a machine everyday of their lives? We all have different struggles and obstacles but How long do we plan to take to set ourselves and our parents free from this cycle?”

Thank you Dad for teaching me the cycle of life.

I am hoping to graduate next year and obtain my bachelors in psychology and minor in criminal justice.  I want to help my sister overcome her diagnoses of major depression disorder and hope that when my mother, father and sister leave to Mexico next year to start their news lives.  Without a doubt I will be working days and nights, to reunite with them again.

Earlier I said you guys made history, because you did you are now one step closer to completing your education and being able to enjoy time with your family.  I know it will be difficult, exhausting, demanding, challenging and you will be scared but just remember you’ve made it this far, if you have made it this far you have already won, you have already accepted the challenge, and the people here today shown that they believe you as much you do in yourself.  Thank you for helping us break the cycle and continue to help our future generations.

Thank you for this opportunity!  Thank you for the scholarship!  Thank you to everyone who has always been supportive!  Thank you to the amazing and wonderful people accompanying us today!