This blog post is part of our celebration of charter school graduates across the country and their achievements. Join us in celebrating our #CharterGrads!
If you look up the term “American Dream,” the definition reads, “the ideal by which equality of opportunity is available to any American, allowing the highest aspirations and goals to be achieved.”
My parents were in the search for that dream not just for themselves, but for their children. I was born in Brownsville, Texas and grew up in Matamoros, Mexico, where my parents were both born and raised. Although Matamoros was my home, I knew it wouldn’t be my forever home. My parents often talked about moving to the United States, where my brother and I would continue our studies.
They heard about IDEA Public Schools and liked its 100 percent college acceptances but were especially drawn to its focus on the whole student. They felt IDEA would do more than just help their kids graduate—it would give us choices and help us become disciplined and prepared for success.
Choosing IDEA meant moving to the United States, but my parents were going to do whatever they had to do. I became a 6th grade student at IDEA Brownsville and although I knew English vocabulary well, I had a difficult time speaking fluently and understanding what others said. Yet, with support from my family, friends, and teachers, I improved.
During high school, I was challenged by my Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes and exams. Just when it felt like the “American Dream” was coming true for me, I realized that in the Rio Grande Valley for most of my peers, the “American Dream” remains just what its definition states —an ideal yet to be fulfilled.
Not every child can enroll in a school that offers AP and IB programs and the tools necessary to succeed at them. During a summer program for Latinx leadership at The George Washington University, I met Latinx youth who were the only Latinx students in their AP or IB classes.
At IDEA, every student is enrolled in AP and IB classes. At IDEA Brownsville, 98 percent of the students identify as Hispanic or Latinx, AP-for-all and IB-for-all are values that the entire school community shares.
Throughout my time at IDEA, I have learned that IDEA tries to close the achievement gap by providing 100 percent of its students with the tools necessary to level out the playing field for students from underserved communities.
Today, I have options—like my recent acceptance to Yale University—because my parents made hard choices when it came to my education. I am grateful that IDEA has equipped me with the leadership and critical thinking skills that will help me join others in pushing the educational equity movement forward.
Karla Camacho will attend Yale University in the fall. She is a 2019 graduate of IDEA Brownsville.
[Click to Tweet] Texan Karla Camacho shares how her educational journey took her from @IDEAschools Brownsville to @Yale #CharterGrads