Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Overcoming the odds

The perseverance, successes, and determination of the kids around me completely amaze me.

About 8 years ago I had the privilege of assisting the coaching of a Ranger Rookie League baseball team for 4th and 5th graders. After we had gathered our team together, not only did we have some budding baseball players (some of whom had never picked up a baseball before), but we also had some good parental support.

One of the parents, Mr. Aparicio, brought water and snacks to every practice we had for the kids. Through those two years of baseball, I got to know the Aparicio's. I was blessed to be invited into their family when they had special events. We discovered their oldest daughter, Kim, and I share the same birthday. When they had Kim's quincenera, I was invited to join in and celebrate; when Oscar (our Rookie League baseball player) had baseball games in high school, they gave me a schedule and when he graduated from high school, I was given one of the coveted tickets. Every once in a while Mr. Aparicio will call to give me an update or invite me to a family event. Though I don't see them often, I cherish those times that they include me.

All-in-all, they are an absolutely wonderful family. They've have worried about their children staying in the local, low-performing public school. They have tried to do whatever they could to get their children into the magnet schools and they support them in everything they do. They push their limits financially so that their children can have the best education.

Their oldest daughter, Kim, will now graduate from SMU next month. She is an absolutely amazing and determined individual. When she was at Townview (high school) she used to tell me about her internships in the ER (in high school!!). She was interested in the medical field. When she went on to SMU she told me about her aspirations to be a dentist. But, most recently, she let me know that what she really wanted to do was be a doctor. On somewhat of a whim, she decided to take the MCAT to see how she would do. Though I don't know if she quite realizes it, she is brilliant. Her scores on the MCAT were such that she could apply to medical school. However, just like I mentioned in my last blog, fear was holding her back. See her email to me:
Hi Ms.Janet
Hope you're doing well. I'm on my last couple of weeks of school. It's a little scary and the whole "too close to the end" laziness seems to be kicking in too. I was wondering if you could send me your address so that I can send you a formal invitation to my graduation. It's December 9th at 7:30 pm. I also have been interviewing at different medical schools. I've interviewed so far at San Antonio, Texas Tech in Lubbock and in the next couple of weeks I'll interview at UT Southwestern in Dallas, TCOM in Fort Worth, and Houston Medical school. I'm still waiting to hear from Galveston and Texas A&M but we'll see if they call or not. It's crazy because I would of never thought I'd be in this position growing up or even a year ago when I had planned to apply to dental school and now hopefully one of the medical schools will offer me acceptance. I had limited myself, thinking that I might not be good enough to even get an interview in medical school until my mentor said that I had too much firepower to not go all the way with this thought and I would probably regret it if I didn't apply to med school wondering "what if". So luckily I listened to someone else and went for it. Now I'm just crossing my fingers to see if it turns out the way I'd like it to. Hope to hear from you soon.
Thank goodness Kim didn't allow her fears to get the better of her. Kim grew up in a low-income area where expectations are often low. Unfortunately, for many kids, the outside world's expectations of them get the better of them and they don't choose to take the risk and do what they have the skills and talent to do. In Kim's case, she stepped out and it paid off:

Hi Ms.Janet
Just wanted to tell you that I got into medical school! I'm pretty psyched. Now I have to pick, which one to go to because I was offered admissions to UT Southwestern in Dallas, UTHSCA in San Antonio, and UTMB in Galveston. They are all great medical schools but now that I have options I don't know where I should go. Well, hope you had a great Thanksgiving, I was blessed with this news and had a good Thanksgiving as well. Hope you're doing well.Thanks, Kim Aparicio
These kids need to be congratulated and supported so much more than they are. The fact that they have overcome the odds is a feat that many of us will never understand.

In a few years, if you're seeking a new doctor, look for Kim Aparicio. I guarantee you she will make a GREAT doctor.

Congratulations, Kim.
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