Education, education, education. That is what Enrique and his sister always heard from their undocumented Mexican parents. Florian and Beatriz toiled daily to support their Los Angeles-born children, sending them to St. Cecilia School and petitioning for years to be legal residents.
When Enrique was in the eighth grade and in the top three of his class, a judge ruled that the family be deported. During the proceedings, the judge learned that Enrique had been accepted to Loyola High School. The judge reversed his deportation ruling, saying how fortunate Enrique was to be admitted to Loyola and that it could change Enrique's life.
Once at Loyola, Enrique applied himself and took advantage of the opportunities and challenges the Jesuit school offered. Many helped him in his path such as the anonymous alumnus who funded his attendance at Georgetown University'sSummer Leadership program, “Leadership in a Global Economy.”
“Enrique learned and grew from each experience, showing real maturity and persistence over the past four years,” said Loyola counselor Kelly Farland. “He is a bright, hard-working, thoughtful and measured young man. These are characteristics which will serve him well as he heads off to college in the fall.”
But high school wasn’t only about grades. It was about giving back to St. Cecilia’s every single year at Loyola through tutoring and mentoring.
“I needed to help these kids because it’s important to be in a positive environment that motivates you to excel in your studies,” said Enrique. “Sometimes you need someone your own age, from your own background so you see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.”
Concepcion Contreras, Enrique’s Honors Spanish II teacher, agreed. “He is always thinking about how his education will make a difference to his family, community and in the end, himself,” Contreras said. “He is without a doubt one of the most loyal, kind and honorable students I have ever taught.”
On June 7, A-minus student Enrique graduated from Loyola High School with a full scholarship to Wake Forest University.
By the way, Enrique's last name is Loyola.