Two years after moving to the United States from his native Mexico, David Espinoza Cervantes has his American dream firmly in mind. He’d like to become an electrician, build a family, and return to his hometown to build a school so students can study close to home.
When David was growing up, he had to travel to a school in a town 3 hours away, living with an aunt and only seeing his parents once a week. He came to the United States to complete his education and build a solid future not only for himself but also for others.
“I came over here for a better life,” says the 19-year-old.
David came to Lowcountry Acceleration Academy after meeting frustration at the traditional high school where he began his American education. As a student just learning English, he sometimes had trouble keeping up with lessons in crowded classrooms. He came to LAA to take advantage of the ample one-on-one coaching and the chance to learn at his own pace.
He took full advantage of of the opportunities, says Janell Reyes, a Spanish-speaking graduation candidate advocate who works closely with David and other English language learners. And now he’s a graduate.
“He is super-dedicated and down-to-earth,” says Reyes. “It’s a pleasure to have David here.”
The 19-year-old works full-time with his brother, who is an electrician, and he appreciates the flexible schedule offered by LAA. Despite his other commitments, he powered through his coursework. He was one of 3 graduation candidates to earn a free Thanksgiving dinner for their families as a reward for strong academic achievement — and he recently joined the inaugural group of LAA grads to celebrate their diplomas.
“I felt like I couldn’t do well in the classes. But then I realized I could pass the classes, despite the language barrier,” David said at commencement. “I’m so excited for my graduation.”