The following profiles a “day in the life” of Erika Hernandez, a ninth grade student at Summit International Preparatory.
Erika Hernandez is thankful to be a high school student at Summit International Preparatory where there isn’t anything to distract her from her academics. You see, at her previous junior high, she had to pass through metal detectors and vigilantly walk the halls for fear of running into a fight around her locker. She doesn't have to worry about any of that at Summit.
So what’s a typical day like for Erika? She is up early, at 5 a.m., in part because her AP Spanish class begins at 6:45, but she also helps get one of her 13 cousins, with whom she lives, ready for school. In addition to AP Spanish, Erika takes AVID, biology, English, photography, multimedia, geography and geometry, all of which are either AP or pre-AP. After the last bell rings for the day, she usually stays at school until 5 p.m. to participate in National Junior Honor Society, Student Council, Key Club, Book Club and Volleyball. She completes most of her homework during her advisory period, but typically has another hour or so of homework once she gets home. And her work doesn’t end there. Most afternoons she watches her younger cousins, to oversee their homework and speaks with their teachers every week to make sure they all stay on top of their responsibilities.
As for the future, Erika now has aspirations that she never would have had at a standard public school. "At first I was just kind of 'whatever' about college. I knew it mattered but not as much as it does to me now. I realized that in order to achieve my dream of becoming a pediatrician, I needed to get into a really good undergraduate school. In public school, I don’t think I would care so much. I’ve discovered what I can do and what I can become."
Through Uplift’s Road to College program, Erika has had the opportunity to visit many colleges that she wouldn’t have previously had the chance to see, including the University of Texas at Austin, Stanford, St. Edward’s, UT Arlington, UNT, SMU and several others.
Erika credits Summit for helping her grow as a student and individual. She is more confident, responsible and driven than ever before. It may be due to her geometry class where she found herself to be the only freshman in a class of all sophomores. And she still made an A.
Erika has made a lot of friends at Summit who share her determination and they all appreciate how invested their teachers are in their success.