“Coming from East San Jose, I didn’t have any friends or family that went to a university, so I didn’t see the possibilities.
ACE made me realize that no matter where you come from, you’re capable if you just work hard enough.”
I came to ACE in the 5th grade. I didn’t know anything about college before I came.
But, at ACE middle school they taught me to believe that I was college material; that I belonged there.
My teachers always helped me when I was behind, and recognized me when I was growing. ACE gave me so much confidence that when I was in 8th grade I was tired of being at a small school, and I went to a different high school for 9th grade.
It got bad. At my new school, right away I started falling behind in my English class. Also, I was totally lost in my math class. I remember all of the students had their big calculators, you know the scientific calculators, and I didn’t even know what they were. Or, even where to get one.
I was confused by it so much, and got so frustrated, that I stopped going to school.
My mom would leave for work and I would stay at home and watch TV. She didn’t find out until months later.
I pretty much had thrown away my whole freshman year. So, in 10th grade I came back to ACE. It was tough, but ACE supported me to get back on track.
Since it was small, it was easier to connect to my teachers. We were a family, and they cared about me. And, I could relate to them since many of them grew up like I did.
ACE prepared me to leave home, to be responsible and to branch out and experience the world, and life.
I am proud to be at UC Merced and I am excited to see what my future holds.
[Wendy Solis, ACE Graduating Class of 2017, Attending UC Merced]
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