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Mariela Cordero Okagesamade

Mariela Cordero is a senior at Franklin High School. Mariela is a three-year participant in the University of Washington’s TRIO Upward Bound Program, and a member of the National Honors Society and Victory Club. In the fall, Mariela will attend the University of Washington in Seattle and plans to major in Environmental Engineering and Music Performance. 

I am what I am because of my mom. She is the person who has made me the perseverant and determined young lady that I am today. My mom has been my biggest supporter and the person who motivates me to move forward in life. She always tells me to take advantage of receiving a higher education and to seek assistance from my teachers at school. She also encourages me to take the resources that are available to me and to follow my dreams. Because of her, I attend office hours from my teachers at school and from Upward Bound staff. I also ask questions in class, meet with my school counselor, schedule meetings with the school therapist, and work hard every day to maintain good grades.

Asking for help and speaking up for my needs are all aspects that I have learned from my mom. She has influenced me to take action when I need academic or emotional help. She has also taught me how to be responsible, respectful, caring, patient, and empathetic by telling me that these skills are important to develop in life and will be of benefit in school and when I have a job. 

A moment that my mom impacted and helped me develop who I am today was when she told me about the struggles of moving to the United States. She told me that since her family was poor, she was not able to attend college. She also could not continue her education because she needed to work to get paid and buy her own food. When she told me this, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. It pained me that my mom had to put receiving an education aside in order to survive. Because of her experience, she tells me that I should be grateful of all the things I have in the United States including receiving an education and having free lunch at school. This story had a great impact on me because many people take learning for granted. Since my mom could not receive a higher education, it is my dreams and hers that I attend college and pursue a career that will bring me joy. 

In college, I will be studying environmental engineering. I deeply care about protecting the environment because I find nature beautiful and believe we should take care of planet earth. The environment provides many resources for humans such as coal and oil, but also water sources, peaceful animal habitats, and clean air. By pursuing a major in environmental engineering, I hope to maintain the beauty of the environment and raise awareness about the anthropogenic activities that are damaging our planet. I want to promote and encourage future generations to demand the reduction of fossil fuels and the contamination of water, soil, and air.

Through my engineering skills and knowledge of the environment, I hope my impact on future generations leads people to unite and demand a clean and sustainable future. The impact I wish to have on future generations relates to my educational goals of being more ecofriendly and being sustainable by going to college to learn about what actions my peers and I can do to protect the environment. By attending college, I can brainstorm solutions with my classmates and meet with environmental activists who can galvanize future generations to continue fighting to protect the environment. 

Adding on, I intend to pursue a major in music performance. I enjoy playing in ensembles and have been playing the clarinet for seven years. I am highly dedicated to strengthening my musical skills through practicing, asking questions, learning new rhythms, and working in sectionals with my peers. Music brings me happiness and I am content when I play with the Symphonic Band and the Symphonic Orchestra at Franklin High School. I am very passionate about music because it is beautiful, unites people, shows one’s hard work, conveys emotions, and makes people want to dance or sing.

Since I love playing music, I will be joining several ensembles at the University of Washington Seattle. I hope to continue improving my musical skills, range, and knowledge in order to become a professional musician in the future. By playing music at concerts, I hope to impact future generations to pursue and create new music. I also want people to recognize the beauty and power of music. I want future generations to become musicians regardless of their ethnicity, experience, or gender.

Music is universal and it should be shared with everyone, hence, why I hope that by becoming a musician, I can encourage people of diverse backgrounds to learn an instrument. The impact I will hopefully have on future generations relates to my educational goals by encouraging people to learn music. Even though I have been playing for a long time, I recognize that I have room to grow. I hope my educational goals of becoming a professional musician inspires future generations to see the value of receiving a music education. 

To conclude, the saying Okagesama de applies to my mom. She has encouraged me to attend college and pursue my goals and dreams. I have told her I want to study environmental engineering and music, and she supports me. She tells me that if I want to pursue engineering and music then I should go for it. My mom hopes that these careers will not only pay me well, but also provide me with a better future. She wants my education to lead me to be successful and content in life. Through all the impacts my mom has had on me, I now recognize what I am passionate about and what I want to study in college.

I am truly thankful that my mom has always been there for me and helped me develop the person I am today. A girl who is dedicated, hardworking, and willing to overcome obstacles to accomplish her goals and dreams in life.