Damaris Karely Ponce, graduated from Pueblo #7 in her class in 2016 with a 3.73 GPA. (She enrolled in 2012.) She was co-chair of the MEChA Club, a National Honor Society Member, Ivy League Tour Participant, TRiO Student & a member of our Swim Team. Damaris plans to continue her education to become an immigration lawyer.
Damaris read this reflection of her experience at Pueblo to our faculty & staff during their Back To School Meeting on August 1, 2016. You can play the audio clip to hear it in her own words.
I remember before Freshman year started, my mom was asked what high school I was going to. As soon as she told them that I was going to Pueblo their faces changed. They told her it was a horrible school and well… we all know what they all say. It didn’t scare me because I mean… I came from Mexico so let’s say I’ve seen worse schools. It didn’t take too long for me to discover that Pueblo was actually a really great school, with the best teachers and administration. I felt welcomed, and I received the help that I needed to accomplish my main goal which at the time, was to learn English. I will always feel thankful for the patience and respect that everyone showed me and other students in my situation. The people that think Pueblo is a bad school are the ones that are not part of Pueblo nor is informed of all the achievements we have made.
Teachers have this incredible ability to change the lives of their students in such amazing ways. I know for a fact you guys do change lives everyday. Before I was a student at Pueblo I’ve never seen teachers so passionate about helping students develop. It always amazed me the amount of personal hours you give to students. Because of my mom’s job and my stubbornness to not take the city bus I used to come really early to school sometimes. There were always teachers already in school ready to give tutoring to students. And if that wasn’t enough, some of you stay after school really late. People outside of Pueblo would say “well that is their job”, but I know, the students know, that those hours are not going to be paid. You clearly don’t know how to be selfish.
The thing that impacts students the most is that you believe in their dreams and most importantly in them. Students are being told that they can’t go to College because of their background so constantly they end up believing it. But here in Pueblo, teachers and administrators not only believe in the students, but encourage them to great lengths and to be the best person they can be. I am a survivor of Mr. Santa Cruz’s class. I will never forget when the year was about to end, he told us we were special because we didn’t give up and continued with the class. The other day, I saw a classmate and she told me she thought the classes at Pima were going to be easy compared to Mr. Santa Cruz’s class. He prepared us so well, we now feel confident about College. This is just one example. I know each of you prepared us and helped us in every way possible. I don’t know if Pueblo was a bad school before, but I do know that Pueblo is the best school right now.