KIPP SoCal Senior Pays Tribute to Her Immigrant Mother

Las Fotos mural dedicated to immigrant women

Courtesy: Las Fotos Mural in Boyle Heights

For Jerylee Perez one of her proudest moments was being part of the Las Fotos Project, where she was able to create a photo mural to pay tribute to immigrant women. Among those women, is her mother, a Mexican immigrant, whose face is featured in the street mural in Boyle Heights. Jerylee also co-founded Las Chicas Chulas, an organization that addresses the stigma of being a woman of color through photography. To further her interest in telling stories about powerful women of color, Jerylee intends to study journalism in college and eventually pursue a career in that field.

Jerylee Perez at graduation with Alejandra Dolores, her KIPP College Match Counselor

Jerylee Perez with Alejandra Dolores, her KIPP College Match Counselor

While Jerylee is a stellar student and is the first on in her family to go to college, she is also proud of her mother who is currently studying to get her high school diploma. After 10 years of suffering from domestic abuse, Jerylee’s mother left her partner to raise her children on her own. Her mother drives for Uber and Lyft to be able to take care of her and her three brothers 6, 7, and 2 years-old.

Jerylee’s mother’s hard work has paid off; her daughter is headed to UCLA in the fall with a $29,000 scholarship. This KIPP LA College Preparatory senior says she wouldn’t be where she is if it wasn’t for her mother and KIPP. She benefited from a close relationship with her KIPP College Match Counselor Alejandra Dolores, who helped guide her through the application process. “She was both a friend and an educator to me,” says Jerylee.

Jerylee Perez with family at graduation

Jerylee Perez with her family. Her mother is holding the sign.

Thanks to the support of Alejandra and others, Jerylee was able to get into 10 colleges overall before deciding on UCLA. Jerylee is also the recipient of the Goldberg Scholarship Program, which will grant her a unique combination of financial support and mentoring throughout her college experience. She was chosen out of 290 students nationwide.

Since she attended middle school at KIPP, the school offered more than academics, it offered her a world of extracurricular activities that in her neighborhood of Boyle Heights, she wouldn’t have found. “For me, KIPP is family,” she says.


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