By Josué Coronado, Georgetown Student, KIPP Houston Alumnus
My name is Josué Coronado. I am an alumnus of KIPP Houston and a current junior at Georgetown University. Today, I serve on the board of Georgetown’s Latinx Leadership Forum and am an inaugural resident of La Casa Latina, a new space I helped found for the Latino community on campus. I tutor at the university’s Writing Center and at a program that serves DC’s court-affiliated youth.
When I think about the course my life has taken since joining KIPP, I am grateful, humbled and more determined than ever to help change the odds for students like me.
You see, I grew up in Southwest Houston, Texas, as the son of working-class immigrants. As a child my mom lived on some of the poorest streets in Houston. My father dropped out of high school and began working as a landscaper in the suburbs to help support his family.
Despite being a very inquisitive student, I was often overlooked in middle school, and my grades began to slip. My mother told me about the local KIPP high school and when I won a spot at KIPP through the lottery, I enrolled as a freshman.
From the start, KIPP was different. At KIPP, my natural curiosity was rewarded and nurtured. My teachers came in early in the morning to answer my questions, and urged me to write about my life and the issues impacting my community.
In my freshman year of high school, I had the opportunity to visit Georgetown with my mother and immediately fell in love with the campus. After finding out about the school’s 15% acceptance rate and its $65,000 price tag, I looked to my mother in disappointment. When I told her I thought the school was too expensive and too selective, my mother looked me in the eyes and replied, “Josué, this is an investment in your future. You deserve to be here just as much as anybody else. If anyone can get in, it’s you. Get in, and we’ll find a way to pay for it.”
Before I flew home, I bought a Georgetown blanket from the bookstore and slept under it every night for the next four years. When the time came to apply, I’d sit atop that blanket, going back and forth via email with my KIPP Through College counselor revising my admissions essay.
March 29th, 2014, my life changed forever. I was admitted to Georgetown University and awarded several scholarships.
I brought that blanket with me to Georgetown, and it reminds me of all the people who invested in me, mentored me and contributed to my achievements. I saw myself at Georgetown, and I knew my KIPP team and family were committed to my success and believed I would get there. They lifted me up, making me the first in my family to attend a four-year university, and I’m excited to use my life and experience to help bring the American Dream closer for all.
This summer, I took a step toward doing just that by interning in the office of Congressman Joaquín Castro. During my time on Capitol Hill, I was struck by the fact that our leaders don’t represent the great diversity of our nation. This experience inspired me to think, how can I be a voice for those who are marginalized and overlooked?
Everyone needs a champion and I thank you for being that champion for KIPPsters like me.