Family has played a very important role in Felicia’s life and education. Felicia’s parents did not have the privilege to receive a higher education. Her mother being the oldest of nine, had to drop out of school in the 6th grade to take care of her younger siblings. Her father couldn’t receive a former education since he had to work for his family. When they came to the United States, they saw the need for an education, and pushed Felicia to excel in her studies. Felicia’s parents would say, “your only job is school.” She took that to heart, and made sure that she went above and beyond to ensure that her work was well done. Additionally, her older sister received a full ride to the University of Houston with limited resources, so when it was Felicia’s time to apply to college, her sister knew she could exceed her with the additional resources available to her. Another factor that drove Felicia to excel in her education, were her nieces and nephews. Even though Felicia is the youngest in her family, she is still an older sister, a role model, to her nieces and nephews. They have motivated her to keep doing better. The support from her parents, the confidence her sister has on Felicia, and the way her nephews and nieces inspire her have all played a role in her path to success. This path had led her to an admittance with a full ride to Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Felicia has been working with SWAG to College since the beginning of this year. She prefers to work as an intern for SWAG, because she gets the opportunity to see the behind the scenes work. By being an intern, she has helped host events, assist the day to day operations of the organization, and talk to the parent of mentee’s. She loves to interact with the parents, and really admires how much effort SWAG puts into including parents. Within the Hispanic community, many parents are weary when it comes to allowing and supporting their children leaving the state, city, and sometimes even home to leave for college. Family is a very important part of the Hispanic community, and many don’t understand why their children should go so far for an education. As a first-generation student, Felicia struggled making her parents understand how important and how big of a success it is to receive an out of state college acceptance. The worry and stress of paying for college and knowing Felicia will be in a completely new place by herself, made them very unsupportive. Additionally, in a Hispanic community it is not typical for the woman to be the one leaving the household. Thus, it was a big topic of discussion. Felicia had to teach her parents, and open their eyes and minds to the opportunities she could receive if she took a chance and went out of state. Therefore, she loves how inclusive SWAG is of parents. “This inclusiveness is a path for students to go to a college of their choosing. You have to go to college. We’re at a time where we should aim to do more than the bare minimum. In order to have new leaders that will impact all communities that have been marginalized for decades you have to have a college education.”
In college, Felicia plans to pursue a double major in Government and Global Cities, along with minoring in Latin American Studies. Felicia is very passionate about being politically aware. She feels like there are a lot of people that don’t prioritize being aware and educated, but the laws that are passed, the leaders that make important choices, affects everyone. By pursuing that major, she wants to do anything she can to help create a future that is inclusive of everyone. After graduating college, Felicia sees herself gaining experience in working in the government, coming back to Houston and starting a program for children who want to be more involved in politics. Children are the future, and Felicia wants to make sure their voices are listened to. Seeing the effects, the marriages and divorces of her brothers and sisters have had on her nieces and nephews, she understands the importance of children involvement and inclusiveness in government policies. Felicia wants to give children a voice, a platform so they know that their opinions, thoughts, and beliefs have worth and will shape this country in the future. One way or another, Felicia will find a way to help this nation become the best it can be for all of its people.
— Belkis Moreno