Maribel Garcia: ‘Failure is simply not an option’

Maribel Garcia, a Cal Prep student starting in 10th grade, maintained a 4.0 GPA and has a 1-year-old child.

I am a victim of domestic violence. I am a teen mom. I come from a low-income family. And I am graduating from high school and will complete my journey at Cal Prep only to continue a new journey walking the paths of UC Berkeley with my son.

Maribel GarciaOne day I called my good friend to ask where he attended school, because I wanted to attend with him. He told me he went to a school in Berkeley that I had never heard of before called Cal Prep. He asked, “Are you sure you want to come to my school” and I replied, “Why not?” After that day he took me to the school with my mother and I enrolled for my 10th grade year. I can honestly say that it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Cal Prep is a great and strong school that sets every student up for success and never failure. It’s such a positive environment to be around, and in the three years that I have attended this school it has only become stronger. Every year it improves more and more for future generations. It is amazing that a requirement is to be accepted to a four-year college by the time you graduate. That many seem crazy, but it has shown and will continue to show members of underserved communities that they can and will succeed in higher education.

I was the first student Cal Prep ever had that became pregnant and stayed during my pregnancy and after to finish my high school education. I was surrounded by so many people who helped me overcome my obstacles because they did not want to see me fail; it just wasn’t an option. And they were right; it’s not and never will be an option. Cal Prep has taught me to fight for what I really want, and I’m doing it. I fought and struggled to make it to UC Berkeley, and I’ll be there this fall

Before, many of my friends would ask, “Where do you go to school?” I would say, “Cal Prep,” and they would say they never heard of it. Now when they ask me where I go and I say “Cal Prep,” they say, “Oh, I know that school.” Aspire (Cal Prep’s charter school organization) is growing, and it makes me extremely happy that there are more schools with teachers and staff just like mine who want to see students succeed and go to college.