Emmanuel Mancilla (right)
I work as a tutor in math classrooms at Ingraham High School. The students there have tons of questions for me about college, like ‘Is it hard? Do you really not sleep at all? What are the dorms like?’
I tell them the truth. Yes, it’s hard. Sometimes I lose sleep, but it’s definitely doable. And I tell them the college experience is fun because you learn to be on your own.
These kids assume that if you start doing badly in high school, your chances of going to college are sunk. But if you can turn it around and it shows in your grades and involvement, you still have a chance. That’s what happened for me. The admissions counselor at SPU who read my paperwork said that’s what she saw, when my grades jumped in the middle of my sophomore year.
In high school, my counselor, Roberto Lopez from the College Success Foundation program, told me to grow up and own up to my responsibilities. My parents told me that every day, but it helped to hear it from someone else. He and other teachers — they saw potential in me. They showed me the doors, and then I was able to push myself and pursue those opportunities.
So I help the students do their math classwork, because it matters for their future. A lot of the kids know their stuff, they just tend to get off-task. And when they don’t understand, if I can spend five minutes with them, then they get it.
—Emmanuel Mancilla, SPU Junior, Integrated Studies Major
Photo by Mike Siegel