“Become Wise” is Goal of OIHS Student as She Transitions Back to In-Person Learning
A conversation between Yosili, Oakland International High School student, and Martha Sessums, President, ACE
The school year 2019/2020 was hard for Yosili, as it was for many students. She immigrated from Guatemala three years ago and entered Oakland International High School (OIHS) in the ninth grade. She is now in her last year of high school and happy to be back to in-person learning.
“I learn more when I’m in school,” Yosili said. “I also had issues with internet set-up, so it was difficult.”
There were some aspects that were positive in her virtual learning year. No more hour commute to school and more time at home to help her mom who had lost her job. Yosili worked after her virtual school classes (and homework) at both UPS and Jack in the Box to help with family income and her work hours sometimes went late into the night.
Returning to school this year changed everything. She quit the restaurant job and works at UPS for only three days because she still must help support herself and her mom. Yosili is enjoying being back with friends and taking classes that will help her enter college, including math and English classes. These are the dual-enrollment community college classes that Yosili is taking. ACE supports these efforts to create that bridge into community college with support classes for both college English and Trigonometry that are embedded into the school day. Yosili has taken advantage of these offerings in the past and continues to do so by taking Trigonometry this year.
“I take all those extra math, geometry and English grammar classes,” she said. “I take math and English because I’m earning grades for college and I’m also learning.”
A part of that learning is joining student government and Latina clubs.
“Student government is important to me because I learn how to manage my time, how to be a leader and how to make change to help our schools,” Yosili said. “The Latina club is where I make friends and we help each other and give advice to each other. We also do crafts like friendship bracelets.”
But the math classes are key for Yosili.
“The math classes are very important because I want to become wise,” she said. “Math is outside my experience, but it helps me solve problems. I also want to help other students with homework, asking questions and solving problems. I want to learn stuff and how to solve problems so I can become wise.”
Yosili also likes the many student clubs that are offered by OIHS, such as music, soccer or basketball, which let students support and expand their interests beyond just studying. Plus, it lets her “be social and have good friends.”
As a senior, Yosili is applying to colleges. She wants to become a nurse, so she is thinking about researching UC Davis. The OIHS counselors are working with her to find the right college and help her with applications and student loans.
What does Yosili’s mom think about her spending more time with schooling and entering college?
“It’s just me and my mom, but if I want to study, it’s okay,” Yosili said. “Like every mom, she wants the best for her child and if I want to go to college, she will support me completely.”
What advice does Yosili give other OIHS students who are also having to transition back to in-school learning?
“Focus on school and make the best choices you can,” she said. “I would like to be in all the clubs, but I don’t have the time because I have to work. But I encourage students to join clubs, meet people, learn, improve their skills and knowledge and build community.”
Wise advice. Thank you, Yosili.