Where is the door?

In General

“I felt trapped and had nowhere to turn for help.”

Hugo Hernandez has a story that, unfortunately, has become more common in the United States. After learning he was going to be a father at the age of 17, Hugo knew it was paramount to find a way to support his new family. His girlfriend was kicked out of her home and his family was non-existent, most moving back to Mexico five years ago. Hugo’s father had nine kids of his own, so looking for support from him was wishful thinking. The decision to drop out of high school was an unfortunate reality.

Mowing lawns and landscaping keeps food on the table, but with rent and bills the door of opportunity wouldn’t be opening any time soon. Simon Youth Judson Learning Academy at Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio, Texas was introduced to Hugo as a chance to earn his diploma and continue working. He was able to balance school work and his job, and now he is poised to graduate in June.

“I focused like never before on my education,” said Hugo. “The flexible schedule, the amazing teachers, and the ability to work on my own made me learn a lot more than what I thought.”

The Academy has ignited Hugo’s love for education and his desire to make a better life for his family. While he hasn’t decided exactly what he wants to do, he has the opportunity to go anywhere his dreams take him.

“I will never let a chance like this one go in life. I realize that in my case without an education I will be nowhere. I have hope now of becoming someone better in the future and I will do the impossible to provide better for family.”

Simon Youth Foundation is celebrating 15 years of igniting hope, graduating more than 10,000 students, and awarding more than $10 million in scholarships. The 23 academies in 13 states partner with more than 50 school districts and graduate students at a 90% rate. Learn more at syf.org.

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