“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

My grandfather signed legal documents with his thumbprint.

My dad got a sixth-grade education, and like his father before him, was destined to be a subsistence farmer.

My family is from rural Mexico, and my dad understood the destiny of his children, if he stayed. His sons would rely on the rain from the sky to feed their families. And his daughters would be teen brides and rely on a man to take care of them.

My dad decided to break the cycle, he moved to Arizona to give his children a chance at the American Dream.

Thirty years later, here I am, a soon-to-be graduate of one of the world’s finest institutions, but I very easily could not have ended up here.

Several of my peers growing up were brilliant. Yet somewhere along the path towards our high school diplomas, they fell through the cracks of our public education system. Unfairly, the system sacrificed them, yet saved me.

Every child deserves the same opportunity that I had. I commit myself to helping every child to get an equal shot, a fair shot, at this American Dream.

— Karina Rodriguez