Valued Youth Partnership

April Bermea

IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – 2016 Essay Contest

Winner: High School Third Place

View printable PDF version of this winning essay 

April Bermea
11th Grade, South San Antonio High School, South San Antonio ISD, Texas 



How the Coca-Cola Valued Program has Changed Me

The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program has changed me because I picked up my grades, and I want to come to school every day. The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program really made me change my act. Before, I would always have low grades in English and geometry. My mom would always be on me saying, “People would rather be in your shoes going to school for a free education, and you are over here not doing good grades at all.” Looking back is a nightmare, but as of right now, I am happy that I never gave up.

I am very thankful for my tutees because they gave me a push. Steve, Mike and Jennifer* would ask, “Do you have good grades?” I would say yes because I didn’t want them to be like me. One day, my teacher Mrs. Ortega kept us from working because our grades were not passing grades. She told us, “Don’t lie to your tutees, tell them you are not passing!”

When we went back to tutor, I told my tutees: “I am very sorry that I haven’t been coming to tutor you because I have been having trouble with my classes. I am failing.” My tutees told me: “Miss Bermea, be like us. You told us to study hard, never give up and stay focused.”

When they told me that, I had a smile on my face, because they took my advice, and this made me realize I had to do the same thing. My grades are now up and passing.

The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program really made a difference in me because, ever since I started high school, I never wanted to come to school. I would always tell myself: “Man, I just want to drop out. When can school end already?” But look here, I am going to graduate next year, and I feel better about myself knowing I will walk the stage with my friends and graduate. I never felt so proud of myself and hearing my mom say, “Wow, my daughter is going to graduate!” That makes me the happiest person. I wouldn’t change any of this experience. I just want to make my family proud of me.

Thanks to my tutees, Steve, Mike and Jennifer for the person I am today because without them, I wouldn’t be walking the stage next year. Like they say, “Study hard, never give up and stay focused.”

*names changed for privacy