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As students and families across our community recognize and honor Hispanic Heritage Month, many of us are reminded of the pride for our culture and history that has ignited a passion of purpose, education, and legacy for future generations.

I am aware of the realities that some students face due to their race, where they live, or how much money they have. And I have seen the statistics and the dropout rates among students of color.

But I know that I have the power to change these statistics for future generations, and I can prove what’s possible for students like me. Despite the numbers, I know that education is key to ensuring I succeed in life, and I am determined to make college a reality for my future.

I know I have what it takes to succeed, thanks to the partnership and commitment from my family and teachers at IDEA Public Schools who ensure I reach my highest potential every day. I began my journey at IDEA South Flores as a founding sixth grade student. Since the first day I set foot in those halls, I have developed a rhythm, and I’m learning more and growing continually because of my teachers’ dedication. Currently, I’m a 10th grader at IDEA South Flores College Preparatory, one of 20 IDEA schools in San Antonio.

At IDEA, I am on track to go to college. It is teachers like Ms. McCloskey, who was my biology teacher in ninth grade and is now my chemistry teacher in 10th grade, who have made science my passion and have transformed my learning in many ways by sharing real-world examples and applying them to our lessons. Ms. McCloskey constantly reminds me and my fellow students that a high-quality education and continuing down an academic path will lead us to success in life.

My teachers inspire a sense of purpose and a drive for success in their students, and they work hand in hand with the education I receive at IDEA. But IDEA is more than just a classroom. They have also helped me develop my character and learn how to be a leader. IDEA has a culture of six core values that we learn from our first day and live throughout the years: Whatever it Takes, 100% Every Day; Closing the Achievement Gap; No Excuses; No Sweating the Small Stuff; and Team & Family. These values are affirmed every day and in everything I do when I walk through the doors at IDEA.

My classmates and I realize that the decisions we make today will impact the students who walk the halls at our school for many years to come. My younger brother is a first grader at IDEA South Flores Academy. While his education has just begun, my hope is that he will  raise the bar of success even higher than I have.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, as I reflect on the contributions and impact of those who came before me, I look forward to paving the way for younger students, like my brother, and showing them that anything is possible with hard work and perseverance. I am grateful that the education I receive today will prepare me for success tomorrow.

Nathan Hinojosa

Nathan is a tenth grade student at IDEA South Flores College Preparatory.