I went to a high school where the percentage of minority students expected to complete a college education was less than impressive.
Tatiana Cuevas attended a high school with one of the worst high school dropout rates in Philadelphia.
Rubén Mendiola came from a place where, due to financial and cultural pressures, leaving your parents’ home to attend college was considered out of the ordinary.
What do we have in common?
Tatiana, Rubén and I all came from beginnings that did not necessarily predict our futures, but we have beaten our odds. Additionally, each of us has had positive experiences with Comcast.
I am a rising junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently a Corporate Communications Intern at Comcast. My time here has been nothing short of rewarding. A hard-working team, learning valuable skills and meeting influential people are just a few of the memories I will take away.
Tatiana, a recent Thomas A. Edison High School graduate, received the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's (GPHCC) Jose E. Lebrón scholarship at a reception held at Comcast Center earlier this month. Now in its fourth year, the event brings together GPHCC and Comcast employees, along with local leaders and supporters. Tatiana is the fourth recipient of the full scholarship to attend the Community College of Philadelphia. It is awarded annually to one Latino student from Edison High School.
The scholarship was started in 2010 by the Professional Mentoring Network, a program of the GPHCC. The initial donation came from Comcast, and since then, the GPHCC has partnered with Comcast to provide opportunities for young Hispanic professionals and high school students to connect with corporate executives through networking events, job shadowing days and more.
Rubén, who is the president of mun2, served as the keynote speaker for the scholarship reception, inspiring the crowd with enlightening anecdotes about how hard he worked to pay for college and make it to where he is now. During the three years he spent as the General Manager and Senior Vice President of Multicultural Services for Comcast Cable, Rubén built Comcast’s comprehensive Latino entertainment ecosystem.
Norene Gordian, Tatiana’s mother, expressed her happiness for her daughter. "Everything Tatiana wants to do, I want it all to come true for her because she deserves it," she said between tears. Gordian has always prioritized education, pushing her children to do well in school and maintain good attendance.
Tatiana has already obtained a cosmetology license and plans to pursue psychology when she begins at the Community College of Philadelphia in the fall. She aspires to become a psychiatrist because she likes to help people.
According to the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project, there are positive trends in Hispanic primary, secondary and higher education. The research also found that Hispanic households hold education in the highest regard.
Tatiana’s family is a prime example.
At the end of his speech Rubén gave some great advice, which he had gathered from personal experience:
Believe in yourself.
Share your knowledge with others.
When life gives you lemons, make the best lemonade and sell a lot of it.
They were words that were applicable to everyone, including me.