Phoenix High honor student overcomes obstacles
Name: Lourdez Gomez
Occupation: 2013 Phoenix High School graduate
- What brought you to Phoenix High School?
My parents were separated when I was 14 and I was living with my father in L.A. I ditched classes through most of my first two years of high school. I was being asked to join a gang by gang members and my uncle told them to leave me alone. I was mad at him at the time but I think he probably saved my life.
But then I wanted to get away from everything. I felt lonely because my dad had to work so much. It was after that, I came to Lincoln to live with my mom and my four younger sisters.
- How was Phoenix High School different from your traditional school in Los Angeles?
When I came to Phoenix in November 2011, at first I was kind of shy. The classes were small and I didn’t have any friends for a long time. But I noticed other kids liked the teachers and told them a lot of things about problems they were having so I felt comfortable doing that too. I told my tutors that I’d ditched school and had lived in a gang-related area and they helped me feel more comfortable.
- How did you achieve the “outstanding senior” award?
In class, I didn’t talk to people. I just did my work. I didn’t have a computer at home so I did most of my homework at school. On break, I would stay in the classroom and do work. I came from L.A. with 25 units. (Students need 220 units to graduate.) My teachers helped to get me motivated. They made me feel I had the strength to do many things. And when I felt bad and didn’t want to go to school, my mom and
step-dad would say, “Don’t worry. You’re going to get through this.” Then my sisters helped me. Rosalia (15) helped me with math and Reina (14) helped me with science.
- What are your interests outside of school?
I love to help out my mom. She takes care of little kids at home. I enjoy working with young children. I help out at church too, watching kids during the service. I like watching my little sisters — Nuria’s 8 and Susan’s 6.
- What will you do after graduation?
I’m going to enlist in the Army for four years. I want to go into the military police. And later, I want to be a police officer.
- What advice would you give to other students who are struggling to get through school?
I would tell them that, even though at the moment they might not feel good about what they’re doing, if they put their mind to it, they will accomplish whatever they wished to. And that everyone goes through different problems but if you work hard, you’ll reach whatever you want. Look at me - two years ago, I never thought I was going to graduate.
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