When Rocio Sanchez joined Uplift Summit International in eighth grade, she never imagined more than half of her close-knit class of 37 would be leaving her hometown of Arlington, TX, to attend colleges across the nation—including her.
“My family was surprised at my decision to go out of state—surprised but supportive. I never thought I would leave either. I gave my list of colleges, which were all in state, to my counselor before I changed my mind. When I went to her and said, I wanted to start looking at other options, she said, ‘Okay, let’s see what we can do,’” Rocio explained.
Rocio credits her experiences on Road to College trips as the main reason she decided to go out of state. Her most memorable trip was to California in the ninth grade. Without these trips, she said she never would have gained the exposure or courage to pursue her college degree outside of North Texas.
At Salem, Rocio plans on studying sociology and pursuing a career in public service, a passion she discovered by participating in IGNITE, an organization focused on providing programs in high schools and colleges focused on political and civic education, leadership and support for young women. Rocio has been a part of IGNITE for three years and currently serves as the vice president.
Through IGNITE, she also found a summer internship with CitySquare, an organization that “fights the causes and effects of poverty through service, advocacy and friendship” according to their website. There she worked in the public policy department and gained experience with presentations, public speaking and service.
“When I get older I’d like to work in public service or maybe as a counselor. I know people always say jobs in those fields don’t make a lot of money, but I like to think I am just a very caring person,” she explained.
When Rocio leaves for Salem in the fall, she’ll have the confidence that even though she’ll be far from home, she’ll have the support of her alumni counselor who will not only fly out to visit, but will also be there to help her navigate the enrollment process, FAFSA, and other college processes for the next four years. Alumni counselors are provided for every Uplift alumnus as part of the Road to College program.
“I have friends at other high schools and know that when they leave for college, they have won’t this type of support. I feel very grateful that I’ll have my alumni counselor’s guidance,” Rocio said.