By Cristina Sanchez, Teacher and Volunteer
My life is an open book. Always Going Beyond. That is my passion, ir más allá de las cosas.
This is Cristina, Ms. Sánchez, Cris.
No goals, only muchos caminos, experiencias, and journeys to learn from, always with compromiso, responsibility, honesty, strong family values and dedication to my passion of helping students. All these treasures let me find who I can get to become, quién puedo llegar a ser. Sin limites.
Ms. Sanchez (bottom right), always with her students
I am a teacher from Spain, a madrileña who came to Charlotte four years ago to teach English as a Second Language at Vance High School as part of a Ministry of Education and Culture program. The Spanish program offers professionals, like me, the opportunity to take steps to further our careers.
A year ago, after a trip to Washington DC for NCLR’s Advocacy Days, my students and I started volunteering with United 4 the Dream, the Latin American Coalition youth group. Soon after, a few of us also started working on the College Access Para Todos initiative to try to inform undocumented students about what they need to do to get into college. We found out about a great opportunity for undocumented students at a private college, so I personally started taking students directly to the Director of Admissions to get merit scholarships for their good grades. I remember being told, the first time, to only go with the best 3 students I had. I showed up with 7. Then I went with 20 students. Again, the most outstanding students you can ever imagine.
One year later, thanks to the personal effort, passion, and time of all the College Access Para Todos volunteers, around 50 students are able to continue their education at this university almost for free. Meanwhile, hundreds of students now know that they can have access to a higher education regardless of their immigration status. Also, the people in charge and responsible for advising their academic future are, little by little, more educated on how to efficiently help immigrant students succeed.
I remember each one of the moments I have lived together, junto, with my students. Every one of my/our logros y batallas has helped to overcome and change the absence of an embracing and positive understanding towards our immigrant students’ needs.
When I was a child, I never liked to dream how my life would be like in the future. I still don’t. The only thing I have always known is that I want to live the unexpected and keep on building my identity, mi yo, with the moments, journeys, hard work, and devotion to the education and values my parents gave me. Always keeping in mind the logros and batallas.
Always Going Beyond.
Join Cristina Sánchez for the The State of Latino Education in Mecklenburg County: A Community Forum, bringing together parents, other teachers, students, and community leaders to share solutions to the main challenges our public education system is currently facing in meeting the needs of Hispanic students attending Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Saturday, April 28 from 12:30-3:30 pm at the Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte.