Jason Valdez seems like the average teenager. He’s a student at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School, goes to class, and is on the football team. But what makes Jason different is that he’s a Dreamer.
Now a senior in high school, Jason has been with IHADLA for over 10 years. He’s a part of Program 14, which we sponsored when he was in 1st grade at Murchison Elementary School in Boyle Heights. He recounts his journey as a Dreamer as a true blessing.
“You have an experience that a lot of kids don’t have,” said Jason. “You get help growing up.”
Having IHADLA as a support system throughout his education has helped him reach his highest potential. Being a Dreamer has positively impacted his life.
“Having and knowing people that are there for me and actually care for me—it’s motivated me to do my best,” said Jason.
Some of his goals for this year are to have a good season in football and to graduate on time and on the school’s stage. Just 10 years ago, Poly was considered among the worst-performing high schools in California. Less than a quarter of the senior class in 2006 planned on attending a four year college or university. Refusing to be a part of this statistic, Jason is determined to prove everybody wrong and follow through on the path to his chosen career.
Jason will spend part of his senior year, of course, applying for college. A year from now, he hopes to be a freshman at Cal State Fullerton as a finance and marketing major.
After everything that IHADLA has given him, Jason wants to give back. After senior year, he says he wants to try to participate as much as possible with the foundation. His parting words to all the other young Dreamers out there: “Plain and simple—take advantage!”