My Daughter Graduated — And I Did Too!

My name is Cynthia Colmenares Ramirez. I was born in Tomatlan Jalisco, Mexico. I came to California very young seeking the American dream of working and saving to return to my hometown. My boyfriend came with me; we crossed the border without knowing what awaited us in this unknown land. We came with inspiration and ambition. For a long time I worked cleaning houses, without knowing the language and not having knowledge of the laws and opportunities. I made an honorable living by helping others in their home. At the age of 19 I became the mother of my first daughter named Karla, and three years later, Christian arrived. 

My two children are my reasons for learning new things, I want them to inspire them while being by their side as long as I can. Today, Karla is 12 and Christian is 9 years old. Time sure does fly! When my daughter was going to start school, I got information on the schools in my neighborhood to make the best decision. 

A neighbor told me to check out Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep, which was a new school. I decided I would learn a bit about it and give it a try, although it was a charter school. This was back in 2014 and there were so many negative things and false information going around about Charter schools.  

Maricela Guerrero was going to be the principal when the school opened. She came to my house to meet my family and clarified my doubts. I was impressed by her leadership and strength. Karla began kindergarten on August 18, 2014. I remember this day clearly as this was the first time my baby girl attended school. I remember everything was very nice and clean; you could tell there was a good system in place. I still didn’t speak English, so I couldn’t communicate very well with a few of the teachers. Also, I couldn’t help my daughter with her homework. In my town I did not finish elementary school, I only went to school until I reached 5th grade. My mother needed me to help with work because she was a single mother. So unfortunately, I had no secondary or high school education. 

Here in the US I had spent my years just raising my children and being a homemaker. Feeling the frustration of not being able to help my little girl at home anymore, I enrolled in Popular School Family Learning Center in San Jose to learn English. That was the best decision I ever made. I started my education journey with my daughter learning verbs, nouns, literature terms, and doing homework together in the afternoons for four years.  

In 2019 we both graduated! She graduated from Rocketship Fuerza, and I got my high school diploma from Escuela Popular High School. Meanwhile, my son Christian had already started TK (transition to Kindergarten) since 2016 at Rocketship Fuerza. He is in 3rd grade now. I hope my children will take home the message we are never too old to learn, and that we can do it together!

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Cynthia Colmenares Ramirez

Cynthia Colmenares Ramirez

Cynthia Colmenares Ramirez is the mom of two children and happily married. She is originally from Tomatlán Jalisco, Mexico. Her children are her motivation for everything she puts her mind to. She and her family are residents of East San Jose, California and she is involved in her community. She is a founder and leader of Rocketship Fuerza and Kipp Heartwood Academy and member of the Santa Clara parents' commission, and also, a Popular High School alumni. She has worked in various nonprofit organizations, and is heavily involved in pandemic assistance by helping families access resources such as free food distribution. Cynthia continues to expand her knowledge by completing an essential nursing course, and a medical terminology class at San José City College. She also took a leadership course, and a Technology and Health Programs class at CommUniverCity of SJSU. Cynthia became Ambassador and Warrior against COVID 19 with the County Public Health department and completed CPR classes. She also obtained a California license in sanitation and food handling for a mobile business, and most recently graduated from ELLA (Engaged Latina Leadership Activist / LCSV). She is also a member of Sí Se Puede Colectivo group (Somos Mayfair, Amigos de Guadalupe, Veggielution, Grail Family Services, Schools of art and Culture / Mexican Heritage plaza). She considers herself a lifelong learner and will continue to expand her horizons so that she can help her two babies and her community.
Cynthia Colmenares Ramirez

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