‘A woman who makes a difference’: Yesenia Galvan of Maria High School authors winning essay in school contest

By Yesenia Galvan | Maria High School
Sunday, May 22, 2011

At 13 years old, I can recall sitting down in class trying to figure out what high school I was going to attend. My other classmates were more worried about what they were going to do after school.

“Hey, Yesenia, do you want to go to the park with us after school?” Jesus asked. “What for?” I replied. “To go smoke and have a good time,” he answered. I honestly thought about going but thankfully I decided not to.

I was only 13 years old and was already being exposed to drugs and violence. Peace seemed to be something that did not exist, especially at my school.

Thankfully, my parents wanted something better for me and so they wanted me to take advantage of the opportunities that they did not have. My dad was only 16 and he had to come to a country he was not very familiar with. He had to work tirelessly to survive and be able to send back money to his parents.

His dad was an alcoholic and his mom was too poor to support my dad and his seven brothers so my dad immigrated to the U.S.

Both of my parents had hope for their children to become successful and make a difference in the world around them. As I reflect on this essay these are the same reasons why my parents decided to send me to Maria High School where women make a difference in the world.

At Maria I have learned to give and not expect anything in return. To have faith even when others doubt. To have peace even when there is violence all around and to give and receive love. A Catholic education has also taught me to appreciate what I have. It has opened my eyes to the many people that are in need.

In the past four years of high school I have made a difference in so many ways. I have given money to an organization that helped Haiti, helped out during charity day for my club to raise money for the homeless. I have also given money to help a shelter for homeless women, bought two shirts to help the poor in Africa and many other countries.

Through these acts of generosity I have become a better person that gives back not only to my community but to other parts of the world. A Catholic education has helped me discover who I am and who I want to be — a woman that helps those in need and makes a difference in the world.