Everybody Has a Story: Fabian Mendoza

Ambition drives Fabian Mendoza to UC Berkeley.


Joyce Feuerborn

Senior, Fabian Mendoza, sports his school choice at the GFHS Signing Day and Senior Picnic. Photo taken on Friday, May 17, 2019 on Grizzly Way at Godinez Fundamental High School.

Johary Mayorga, Staff Writer

Senior Fabian Mendoza dedicated himself to academic success during his four years at Godinez Fundamental High School. With a GPA of 4.4, an SAT score of 1300, and numerous AP and honors classes, he has put in great effort. Mendoza was accepted into notable schools such as UC Berkeley, UCI, UCLA, UCSB, and various others.

Mendoza’s hard work during his time at Godinez led him to fulfill one of his top goals recently. After applying to nine universities and being accepted by all, he was able to enter his dream school, the University of Berkeley. While uncertain of what specifically he wants to study, he hopes to stay within the field of English.

Getting accepted into UC Berkeley was a memorable moment for Mendoza. He was with AP English Literature teacher Monique Statler and counselor Jimmy Bravo at the time. They shared the experience with him and celebrated, congratulating him on the acceptance. “It was this big culmination. I worked so hard for everything, and to just finally have this, it made it all worth it,” said Mendoza.

His family serves as one of his biggest sources of motivation. He has two older siblings that he hopes to measure up to. “My sister is a Spanish professor at (Cal State University) Fullerton and Dominguez Hills, and my brother is a computer engineer,” explained Mendoza. “They’re always pushing me to do better because they want to see me succeed as much as they have.” Along with his sister and brother, Mendoza is also a first-generation college student in his family, while his parents are undocumented.

The one that motivates him the most is his mother, Gloria Diaz. She has played a great role in his life by providing him with encouragement and giving him as much support and guidance as she can, making sure to check up on him often.

When Diaz struggled with her health due to a stroke during Mendoza’s junior year, he tried his best to return that support to her. With demanding AP classes in his schedule and SAT exams, it was a very overwhelming year for Mendoza. Despite that, he showed his love and appreciation for her by aiding her when she needed it while managing his school work, providing her with emotional and financial support.

“She always wants me to be successful,” said Mendoza. “That’s what she came to this country for. To see me succeed and provide a better future for me.”

Mendoza’s mother is extremely proud of the work her son has done. She believes that all of his accomplishments were possible because of the effort he put in.

When Mendoza received a Best of SNO (School Newspapers Online) award for an article he wrote in the Gazette, Mendoza showed Diaz the award as she picked him up from school. His mom’s immediate reaction was to stop at WalMart to buy a frame for his new award.

Diaz said how she is “grateful that he’s always there” for her and the rest of the family “even though he has other responsibilities.”

“I wouldn’t want to disappoint her. That’s why I’m trying to do good,” said Mendoza.

Although Mendoza is not exactly sure of what he’ll go on to do, he’s looking forward to studying at UC Berkeley. He visited the campus in early April, and enjoyed the urban environment, making him excited to finally study at the school that he had dreamt of attending.

Mendoza’s plan at Berkeley brings feelings that are bittersweet for Diaz, as is typical for many parents with their children entering college. The hardworking nature of her son brings her pride, but that will bring changes that might be difficult for both of them.

Despite that, Diaz explained, “Even though I’m sad to see him go off to college, I’m also excited for what he’ll do in the future.”