My journey thus far by: Paloma Diaz, a proud uplift alumni

In the past three and a half years I have moved to San Francisco, been awarded enough scholarships to fully cover my tuition and fees, obtained seven internships, (three of which have become lasting clients), been a leader in my community, and built a portfolio I am proud of. As I slowly check off my dream checklist, I reflect on the immense impression that my high school education has made on me.

Throughout my four years at Uplift North Hills Preparatory, I was a leader for multiple clubs, a team member in organizations, a swim coach for all ages, and a voluntary friend to seniors in resident homes- all while playing varsity sports, competing in scholastic art competitions, pursuing my IB diploma, and maintaining honorable grades. With my easy-going personality, experience in customer service, and history of maintaining a large workload, I went into college confident in my ability to balance anything life threw at me.

Pursuing the International Baccalaureate diploma pushed me in an academic sense, in my community, the arts, and even my personal stature. It has made me the well rounded person I am today. Although it wasn’t an easy road traveled, my peers served as my support system. Going through such an intense curriculum, while surrounded by others as determined as I was,  motivated me to fully invest my efforts into my coursework. This experience instilled enduring discipline into my character. For this reason, I believe that primary and secondary education are the beginning of a fundamental system that motivates the social, educational, safety, and guidance of students.

I hold Uplift’s mission statement near to my heart, as it does just that. They provide high quality education at a low cost; a gift to minorities that is often out of reach. Access to education has empowered me to act on my highest potential. As a first generation student, it has become my goal to represent my heritage in the best way possible through my art making practices. I create authentic images of the LatinX community in hopes of embracing the rich identity of marginalized groups.

This summer, I had the opportunity to apply my practice as a marketing intern for Uplift’s Communication team. In addition to this, I was lucky enough to also be a fellow for BravenX. I am so grateful for both positions which have sharpened my career skills during these uncertain times. This has been a chance to reconnect with the institution that kick started my lifelong journey to learning and achievement. I remember stating “In 2021 I will be graduating from California College of the Arts” at College Signing Day. Uplift has helped me make this statement a reality. As I approach my final semester of college this fall, I acknowledge that I will be graduating a semester early thanks to my high school transfer credit. With the support of Uplift Education, family, and friends, I will be prepared to confidently pursue my career as an illustrator. 

Author:
Paloma Diaz

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