St. Francis de Sales senior Rosa Mendoza has a lot to celebrate. Not only is she poised to graduate at the top of her class and be the first in her family to attend a four-year university, but she was also the first SFDS senior to receive a college acceptance letter this year. We caught up with this busy young woman to learn more about her journey.
How would you describe your experience here at SFDS?
Rosa: Being in a small school has made it easier for me to voice my opinion and be able to talk to my classmates. I have one friend whom I used to not get along with AT ALL, and now she’s the closest person to me! I feel like it helped me realize that people aren’t always what they first seem, and you need to communicate to understand people. I also like going to mass and spending more time in church...sometimes going to church has helped me take a mental break from school! My teachers have helped me manage my time better and have made me get out of my comfort zone.
What activities have you been involved with over the past few years?
Rosa: A lot! I’ve played volleyball and soccer, and have also participated in the photography club, the newspaper team, and the National Honor Society.
What staff members have had a particular influence on you, and why?
Rosa: Mr. Sanchez and Coach Flores have both influenced me a lot. Mr. Sanchez has always told us that he sees potential in every single student. He’s always been there to help me, and answers any questions I have about anything. Coach Flores has been there for me since I met her, and she always listens to me complain and gives me the best advice!
How did it feel to get your first college acceptance letter?
Rosa: It felt amazing! I applied to ten colleges—I think!—and I’ve received five acceptances so far.
Have you made a decision on where you will go?
Rosa: Yes! I plan to attend the University of Illinois and major in BioChemistry so I can get into Pre-Med and become a gynecologist.
What is something that your classmates and teachers don’t know about you?
Rosa: Many people at my school might not know that I actually hate socializing and it makes me very nervous.
Tell us a little about your family.
Rosa: My family came from Mexico and I’m the first to be born here, so there’s a lot my parents and older brothers don’t know about this country and that I’m also learning as well. My family is completely determined to move forward and do their best. I don’t think there’s a day that anyone in my family just sits at home doing nothing. Everyone is always moving and trying to get ahead.
What has been the key to your success?
Rosa: I think it’s important to mention that this wasn’t easy. There have been nights where I haven’t slept because I’ve been studying for my classes, then staying up doing homework for Olive-Harvey College because I take dual enrollment classes there. I leave my house at 6:50am every day, and when I have class at Olive-Harvey, I don’t get home until 9:30pm, and that’s when I eat and start to do my homework or projects. People think I’m just smart so I get good grades and college acceptances, but that all has come from the hard work I put in.