My name is Nizzeah Gonzalez. I am a seventeen-year-old kid from North Philadelphia, where my expectations to succeed are set low, and if I want to succeed. I must fight for my spot ten times harder than anyone else. I am a Latino from Philadelphia, where you have two options: Get out and do better or succumb. I grew up in the Juniata area of Philadelphia, where gun violence and drugs took over the streets.
I am just your average Puerto Rican kid from Philly. I love playing video games, going paintballing, and going anywhere my family is. I love my family, and I continue to look forward to a better future. My dreams for myself are big, but my mama’s dreams for me are bigger. My mother is my inspiration. Xiomara Gonzalez is a single mother who raised my sister and me on her own. She not only inspires me every day, but others with the impact she can make with just a smile. She taught me kindness is one of the greatest gifts. As an inspirational figure once said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
As of right now, I am a senior with straight A’s awaiting graduation day with the biggest smile on my face. I will not lie to you, being a senior in a global pandemic is extremely hard, but it has its perks too. It motivated me to do a 180 and become the student I am today. I started attending Esperanza Cyber Charter School (ECCS) in the middle of my Sophomore year when a previous teacher told me I would never succeed. I was discouraged, but ECCS showed me I could succeed. I have accomplished overcoming self-doubt. I have pushed myself so hard and became resilient against the many obstacles which pushed me in the direction of not graduating. But look at me! I am graduating in May, and I have never been so proud of myself. My family motivates me. They all push me to be a better version of myself.
Dear future self: You’re twenty-five years old, and I hope you got that house you are always talking about, outside of the city. You will be working hard and making my family proud. I wish you would have appreciated those who doubted you because it only pushed you harder. The philosophy you will continue to abide by are the words Nelson Mandela once said, «The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.» I will be most proud of my resilience and proving the world wrong. I am great, and anyone can succeed, even if you are just a kid from North Philadelphia.