Steven is a senior at KIPP Denver Collegiate High School and plans to become a teacher or a neurosurgeon one day. He is passionate about working with kids and making a difference in his community. We talked with him to learn more about his goals for the future and why it's important to him to give back.
Why is going to college important to you?
Going to college is important to me not only because I’ll be able to give myself a better life, but also because I want to repay my parents for all the struggles they have gone through. They traveled to another country just to give my siblings and me better opportunities and the life that they wanted for their kids.
What do you like most about the Access Opportunity program?
I love the community that we have. Everyone is trying to achieve their own goals, but we’re also always trying to help each other out. We push each other to be better individuals, not just for ourselves but also for the communities outside of Access Opportunity. I applied for AO because it helps students who deserve to go to college and deserve to have the opportunity to improve their lives. AO really cares about the students, making sure that they have everything they need to be successful, not only in high school but throughout college as well.
What are some ways you’d like to give back to your community one day?
I want to help people in need. I’ve struggled in my life and I don’t think that anyone should have to struggle as much as they do, especially minorities like me. So many minorities come to the US to find a better future for ourselves and we should be able to do that without facing injustices daily.
What are some of your career goals?
I’m debating between becoming a neurosurgeon or a teacher. I love studying the brain and how it works, and I would love to save people’s lives as a surgeon. But I would also love to teach in a school where the majority of students are low-income. Like I said before, low-income students face struggles daily and I don’t want students to feel like they’re alone during those struggles.
What are you involved in at your school and in your community?
I lead our all-school town halls each month and also participate in Student Council, Student Ambassadors, and run for the cross country team. I also work for Torchy’s Tacos up to 35-40 hours per week, on top of my school schedule.
Over the summer, I worked for a program called “Breakthrough,” which aims to break down barriers for students of color and give them equal opportunities. It’s a six-week program for middle school students and my role was “superhero.” I coordinated events and also helped provide support for students who had challenges at home. I’m so grateful that I got the opportunity to work with such amazing kids at Breakthrough. That program is one of the reasons I have thought about becoming a teacher.
What’s something you’re really passionate about?
I’m really passionate about helping younger students, as well as learning more about the world, specifically the injustices in today’s society. By understanding those injustices, we are able to see issues from entirely different perspectives and combat them.
Something interesting we might not know about you?
If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go to Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef. It’s being rapidly destroyed by climate change and I’d love to see it before it’s gone.
Another thing is that some people say my heart is too big for me – I would do anything for the people I care about. For example, I’ve been helping my good friend Sergio with getting into his dream school, including reaching out to the admissions team. I would move mountains for him.