by Christin Ayers and Jennifer Mistrot
SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Christian Ramirez Gonzalez always puts his best foot forward. The high school senior at Luis Valdez Leadership Academy in San Jose is student body president, team captain for both cross country and track and field, and last but not least, a left back on the soccer team. He’s an overachiever with purpose.
“You have to take that opportunity,” explained Ramirez Gonzalez. “I’m not doing this necessarily for myself, while I do benefit immensely from it, at the end of the day I get to give back to my family because they have sacrificed and given so much for me.”
LEARN MORE: Students Rising Above
It was a sacrifice no one should have to make. Ramirez Gonzalez’ parents came to the United States from Mexico for a better life. But they also left something behind, the opportunity for an education.
“Both of my parents, they didn’t get to graduate high school … because of their economic status,” said Ramirez Gonzalez. “And that makes me sad ’cause, you know, it’s not fair.”
Fair or not, neither graduated high school, and Ramirez Gonzalez’ mother was not even able to finish middle school. Public school in the area where they grew up was not free, and their families did not have the money to pay for tuition or supplies. It is a situation that has frustrated Ramirez Gonzalez.
“And I know both of them could have made it very far if they had enough funds or even the materials needs to just keep going to school,” Ramirez Gonzalez asserted.
But he was also inspired. That knowledge is shaping his future, and potentially other’s futures as well. With the help of Students Rising Above Ramirez Gonzalez plans on studying business at college, and then he plans on helping other young people in Latin America achieve their educational goals.
“I want to start my own non-profit organization to help kids in Latin American countries,” said Ramirez Gonzalez. “Because a lot of kids in Latin American Countries don’t get an education.”
His teacher and longtime advisor, Ernesto Hernandez, says he is inspired by Ramirez Gonzalez’ drive.
“You have this student who wants to change the world,” said Hernandez.
For Ramirez Gonzalez, pursuing his non-profit dream is also a way to say thank you to the two people who mean the most in his life, his mom and dad.
“Just so my parents can know,’ said Ramirez Gonzalez. ” I tried my best and my best is for you.”