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Everybody Has a Story: Yuliana Perez

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Everybody Has a Story: Yuliana Perez

Senior Yuliana Perez stands on the second story of the 400 building near her English class.

Senior Yuliana Perez stands on the second story of the 400 building near her English class.

Jacqueline Pompa

Senior Yuliana Perez stands on the second story of the 400 building near her English class.

Jacqueline Pompa

Jacqueline Pompa

Senior Yuliana Perez stands on the second story of the 400 building near her English class.

Jacqueline Pompa, Co-Editor in Chief

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For senior Yuliana Perez, it’s not how you start school, it’s how you finish.

As graduation day inches closer, Perez can’t help but worry about her college choices. She awaits the replies from the colleges she applied to but she doesn’t have money to pay. So she may have to go to Santa Ana College.

“I know that I won’t be able to go to a school of my choice but I was still glad that I had more options,” Perez said. She applied to: Cal State Fullerton, University of California at Irvine, Juniata College which is in Pennsylvania, Cal State San Jose and many more.

Perez is in Big Brothers and Big Sisters. She was signed up by her mom at 13-years-old. She didn’t expect much until she met Tiffany Frederick.

“Since I was the oldest, I never got the chance of someone actually helping me through things. Having Tiffany as my big sister really gives me a sense of what it could have been like.” Perez was now able to have someone to talk to and help her out through troubles that her parents may not be familiar with.

“Tiffany helped me look at schools farther away from home,” said Perez. Frederick has given Perez the opportunity to travel to schools she isn’t able to visit on her own. Last year, Frederick flew Perez to UC Berkeley to check out the campus and this winter she took her to look at University of Chicago.

“Parents can only give you and show you what they know,” Frederick said. Frederick felt that Perez’s eyes weren’t opened to the many opportunities life had to offer. “I wanted to be a mentor to someone and show them all the opportunities that are out there.”

Frederick believes that education is more than just going to school. “Experiencing new cultures, places and almost everything you do outside your house is educational.” With Frederick pushing Perez’s boundaries, Perez has been more open with people and has been able to achieve the mindset when something is not for her.

“I’m really glad I have a Big Sister like her. She has really helped me build my personality with just helping me go to places outside of Santa Ana,” Perez said. She describes the many events and places Frederick has taken her including: Rise Festival in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Catalina Island.

“In the beginning, I wasn’t a straight A student, freshman or sophomore year,” Perez said. “I guess I didn’t care.”

School wasn’t on the top of her list when she entered high school. She believed as long as she passed her classes she could get into Santa Ana College.

Perez said that is the one thing she regrets. Her first two years were tough. “I didn’t try my hardest.” When she entered junior year, she got her act together.

“I took honors classes and now I’m taking AP classes.” Perez said she may not be going to her university choice but she is grateful that she has gotten her act together before her two sisters and brother follow in her footsteps.

Jill Lytle, her AP Environmental Studies teacher, said, “She’s very thoughtful, smart and a considerate person. During a conversation, she considers both people in the conversation. I’m glad to have her in my class.” Perez is currently passing this class and plans on passing her AP Environmental Science exam.

Perez has helped her younger siblings do things that she never thought of before. “I just want them to have the opportunity to get into a college they want.” She coached her sister to help her get into AVID and is making sure she does all her homework. She also has been trying to take her siblings to potential colleges.

Perez hopes that she can teach them what Frederick has taught her.

She relishes on her time spent with her Big Sister as a person who opened doors for her.

Perez said, “To see the many possibilities we have. If we hide in a bubble, we will miss the opportunities that could have been in our reach, if we would have taken a step forward.”

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Everybody Has a Story: Yuliana Perez