Student Voices: Tania Vega

36Tania Vega, a student at Detroit Cristo Rey, delivered a speech at the 2017 Annual Meeting, speaking confidently in front of all 161 participants. She shared her life story and experience and detailed how Detroit Cristo Rey has shaped her trajectory. She will attend Wayne State University in the fall.

My name is Tania Vega and I am a senior at Detroit Cristo Rey High School. I am the youngest of four by quite a lot. My siblings are more than a decade older than me. My family jokes around saying I was the surprise baby. Being the youngest is not as easy as everyone believes . I grew up alone for the most part. When we came to Detroit I was only two, my oldest sister began working right away and my other sister and brother, ages 14 and 16, began high school. By the time I was five my oldest sister was already married with my first nephew on the way. My other siblings shortly followed. Because I spent most of my childhood alone I grew up to be a very shy person.

The transition from middle school to high school was hard as it is for everyone. I knew no one and was too shy to approach anyone which was really scary. Cristo Rey was not what I expected high school to be. I am so glad it is nothing like I expected. I never expected to have so much exposure to new experiences. I have gotten to interact with people I never thought I would, especially coming from a low-income family. The greatest lesson I have learned is that tearing down the barriers we create around us is what makes us grow as people. I can honestly say I proud of the person I have become.

The Corporate Work Study Program has taught me many lessons and enlightened my path. I have had three jobs in my four years of high school. I have worked at Edward C levy, Ford Mo. Co, and Michigan Head and Spine. I must say I do have a favorite. My favorite job was at Ford Motor Company. I gained so much knowledge and confidence in the skills I barely knew existed. I translated customer dealership experiences from Spanish to English, which strengthened my bilingual skills. Ford made me realize what truly drives me. I want to help others, I want to be the change that I think is greatly needed and I plan on using business to achieve it.

On June 4, 2017 I will be the first one in my family to graduate high school. I will also be the first to attend and graduate from college. I applied to about 16 colleges and universities, and got accepted to all of them. All my motivation comes from my family, but my support comes from the school and all the caring faculty that push me to be a better version of myself everyday. Cristo Rey is not just a college prep school, it is a second family to all of us – a family filled with support, love, faith, and compassion.

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