Why I am a proud product of PSJA ISD

Posted by Claudia Lemus-Campos on 3/26/2019

Photo of family at graduation
It is one thing to walk the stage to receive your college degree and another to see one of your parents do it. 
So many emotions rushed through me the day I became the first in my family to graduate from college, but nothing compares to what I felt when I saw my father walk up the stage to receive his college certificate in Automotive Technology from South Texas College last December.
Seeing my father in his cap and gown, beaming with pride and joy, made me the proudest daughter.  
As the eldest of six children, I became aware of my parents’ educational sacrifices at a young age. Their constant dedication and encouragement for us to do good in school and go to college stemmed from their own dreams of doing the same. 
Born and raised in Mexico, my mother and father always emphasized how they gave up everything for us to have a better life. To them, getting an education was the first step to do it.  
“La educación es algo que nadie nunca les puede quitar,” they would say.
Growing up, my parents couldn’t help me much with my homework as it was in English, but their constant support was always there. Knowing this, my siblings and I pushed ourselves every day at school to make them proud.  As my siblings and I attended school at Ramirez Elementary, LBJ Middle School, and PSJA North High School, my parents learned about the PSJA Parental Engagement Program where they could take free classes to continue their own education. 
I still remember my mother’s glowing face the day she told me she signed up for an ESL and a computer class. My dad, who had his GED in Spanish, soon made it his mission to earn it in English.
In time, the more classes my parents attended, the more involved they became in our class assignments. Although I was already in college around this time, I witnessed my parents being there for my siblings in ways that they weren’t able to be there for me. 
The joy I felt knowing how far they had come is still indescribable. They developed a better understanding of the language and assignments, became technology savvy enough to help with research on the computer and even became school parent volunteers.
The impact programs like the PSJA Parental Engagement Program and the PSJA Early College Program have on families like mine is immeasurable. Besides providing all students with an opportunity to get an early start to college, empowering parents with the resources and support to continue their own education is transforming generations. 
My father has now been inspired to pursue another college certification in Diesel Technology, and my mom is now chasing her own dreams and is determined to earn her GED as well. She has gained so much confidence in herself and her abilities that she recently volunteered to teach an Arts & Crafts Class for other parents at Ramirez Elementary. 
In addition to the impact these programs have had on my parents, thanks to PSJA ISD, my family will soon have three college graduates when my little sister earns her Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in May. 
With the education and college credits earned in high school, my two sisters and I, all PSJA North Alumni, graduated with bachelor degrees in three years or less. My baby sister Beverly, was lucky enough to pursue a Pharmacy Technician Certificate while in high school and has been able to work as a Certified & Licensed Pharmacy Technician at Walgreen's Pharmacy while in college. We hope the same or better opportunities are provided to my three little brothers still attending PSJA ISD schools.
For this and many more reasons, I am a proud product of PSJA ISD. It is a true privilege to get to work for the school district that has made such an impact in my life. 
I am immensely grateful to work for the PSJA Communications Department where I have the honor of helping highlight the tremendous work being done every day. You see, whether you are a school clerk, a teacher, counselor, department head or an administrator, the work you do touches lives in big and small ways. Regardless of the role you play, the work you do matters.
To my PSJA Family, thank you for all you do!