I have very little experience with living life outside of school. School has been the majority of my life since I can remember. My childhood has revolved around doing my best in a system that, from my perspective, seems never-ending. For many, this is horrible and not worth the effort. At some point, I have felt this way, but I have come to appreciate the school system that I am in. I think finding personal peace and happiness is a key part of the American creed. Although school causes many, including me, stress and anxiety it is a means to a good life.
Unless you find yourself very lucky you will find yourself lacking opportunities if you do not have a proper education. The truth about the American dream is that they may be very hard to fulfill if you are not already born into a good situation. Westport Public Schools are known for being some of the best public schools in the country. Personally, I do not have the experience to know if this is true. I have been in Westport for all of middle and high school, leaving me with no knowledge of how a ‘bad’ school can be. In this regard, I was born lucky. Thankfully I was born in an area where I can get a good education and hopefully grow to fulfill my version of the American dream. This is where luck truly matters, if you are unfortunate enough to be in a poorer school system, where you find yourself unable to learn well then, in many cases, it will hinder you from fulfilling your dream.
My father has experienced this first hand and turned himself into an exception. My dad does not have a college education, but he has made a good life for himself and his family where they don’t have to experience his misfortune. My dad was born in a small town in the community of Madrid, Spain. He grew up there in the ’60s and ’70s. This was a time in Spanish history that many wish to forget, where the Spanish were ruled by a nationalist dictator. During this dictatorship and time period, my father was not able to find the kind of education that we expect to have in the modern day. He instead enrolled in a trade school, where he learned the woodworking craft. This school was good in the way that it taught my dad one skill that he eventually perfected in a career that is in constant demand. On the other hand, though my dad does not have a modern day college education. This means that outside his profession he can not get a job. If he had not gotten lucky enough to start his own company he would not have made as good of a life for himself as he has. As an employee in another woodworking company he would not have been given the freedom he has now and he would have not made the large connections that he has with his various clients. Now my father has made many wealthy clients that are willing to support and sponsor him and his business when needed. Although my father did a great job making a good life for his family, his education still limited him. Due to his lack of higher, college-level education, he has reached his limit of what he can do. Other than continuing his business he has no opportunities for different, better-paying jobs.
In a similar story that took a different path, look at Jesus Rodriguez. Mr. Rodriguez, a guest speaker at my school, told my English the story of how he followed through with his American creed. Jesus was born and raised in Venezuela before its economic downfall, which started in 1999. Although it was still a thriving country at this time, Jesus was also unable to find a good college education in Venezuela. However, where my father had no option but to enroll in a trade school, Jesus found the money to move to the U.S and go to university here. With this key difference, Jesus made his own path that gave him many more options. Jesus is now in the oil industry working for a European country and making a name for himself as a trader. He has also made a very good life for himself and his family, but through his more advanced education took it one step further.
My father and Jesus Rodriguez show the importance of education. Both came from similar backgrounds, living in Spanish speaking countries and later immigrating to the U.S to find a place for their families. Even though they both ended up in Westport one had an advantage that the other did not. Through higher education, Jesus was able to achieve his dream in a much different way. Although it required the same amount of effort, it is possible to say that education gave Jesus a path that was easier than the one my dad had no choice but to take.
Ortiz, Solomon P. “National Teacher Day.” Congress.gov, Congressional Records, 10 May 2006, www.congress.gov/crec/2006/05/10/CREC-2006-05-10-pt1-PgE769.pdf.
Rodriguez, Jesus. Personal Interview. 29 May 2019.
Francisco, Fernandez-Asensio. Personal Interview. 6 June 2019.