When Uplift Williams opened in 2007, the Sierra family had already found a school for their young children, but word quickly spread about the new free public charter school in the Love-Field neighborhood.
Beatriz Sierra, mother of four wanted her children to have the best education possible. She wanted her kids to be college ready. Beatriz worried about the financial burden of college and how she would guide them through the college admissions process.
As her oldest daughter, Jessica Sierra entered sixth grade she was accepted to Uplift Williams. That was nearly eight years ago. Jessica recently completed her first year at Emory University in Atlanta Georgia.
“I recall our first parent meeting at Uplift Williams where we were told communication between the school, parents and scholars is how we achieve academic success,” said Beatriz.
As a sixth grader starting out at Uplift Williams, Jessica was able to visit several college campuses allowing her to explore her options and began a checklist of what she wanted her college campuses to look like. As Jessica’s senior year drew close, her parents worried about the possibility of her attending college out-of-state, but Road To College counselors eased their worries.
“I’m so thankful for the Road To College counselors not just for what they do for our scholars but also because they are very giving of themselves and time,” said Beatriz.
Jessica received a full ride scholarship to Emory University. She hopes to become a nurse.
“Our teachers and counselors are so passionate and driven to ensure our students become successful and attend college,” said Beatriz.
Jessica became the first in her family to attend college, but she will not be the last. Her three siblings plan to follow in her footsteps.
Nancy Sierra, was not only encouraged by her older sister but the constant reminders on campus. Nancy said the college banners found around campus give her motivation and instill the importance of higher education.
She admits the coursework at Uplift Williams is challenging, but it helps scholars become college ready.
“If I can do this work, I can do this and more in college,” said Nancy. The recent high school graduate said Uplift Williams helped her learn how to overcome obstacles.
“At Uplift Williams you learn that you may come across a big barrier, but you have teachers that are always their to support you,” said Nancy.
Nancy quickly made Road To College her second home as she embarked on her next academic chapter, college.
“The Road To College counselors care about you succeeding,” said Nancy who was accepted to Hope College on a full scholarship. Nancy plans to complete a degree in education. She wants to make an impact on the life of future scholars just as teachers encouraged her.
Beatriz is grateful for the work of all Uplift Williams staff but adds parents must do their part. The mom of four stresses the importance for parents to not just rely on the school to educate their children but also to become involved.
Beatriz’s two oldest daughters are off to college, but she plans to continue to be active at Uplift Williams. She has two more scholars, in primary and high school, to get through Uplift Williams.
Beatriz’s second youngest, Roberto Sierra is a rising 10th grader. Roberto hopes to purse mechanical engineering and knows Uplift Williams will help him get there.
“When I was in primary we had a robotics team, and it got me interested in mechanical engineering,” said Roberto.
The 10th grader knows the homework will get harder but with the support of his family and teachers anything is possible.
“I am proud of my kids, and I am proud to be part of Uplift Williams,” said Beatriz.