“Coming from parents who only attended the sixth grade, I think it's crazy just in the fact that I am even graduating high school,” reflected Antonio Preciado, a senior at Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School.
Despite a turbulent junior and senior year impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Preciado is Ivy-bound, planning to study political science at Stanford University in fall 2021. While Preciado prepares to embark on a new journey 350 miles away from home, he has taken a moment to look back at how his high school experience at Ánimo Inglewood propelled him to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the world .
Q: What accomplishment have you been most proud of during high school?
A: Besides being accepted into Stanford, one of my biggest accomplishments is the community I’ve built. I’ve been a part of this amazing program called Minds Matter Los Angeles for three years, and I’ve met with 20 other students from all over Los Angeles, with the common goal of obtaining higher education and eliminating the barriers to education.
Through this program, I’ve been able to attend a summer medical program at Brown University. I also applied and got accepted into a summer program at Oxford, but the pandemic happened. Fortunately, this opportunity was extended, and I just booked my flight yesterday, so I will be attending Oxford this summer, which is super exciting!
What do you plan to study at Stanford University?
So my intended major right now is political science, but with the end goal of attending law school. I want to focus on immigration law and be able to come back to the same community I started with. I know, living here, I've witnessed a lot of people who honestly don't have the economic means to contact a lawyer or understand the difficult language that comes with the law. So I know it's like something I dream of being able to volunteer what I've learned.
Are you a first generation college student?
I am first gen.
How does it feel to be the first person in your family to go to college—and go to Stanford University?
I think it's crazy just in the fact that I am even graduating high school. Coming from parents who only attended the sixth grade, it's crazy to even achieve high school and just even say that I will be attending Stanford is an honor and privilege. It just goes to show how far dedication and the proper resources can take you.
I've always just remembered how hard I see my mom work and the sacrifices she made and that's something I like to carry with me. I just knew that education was going to be my path of repaying her back.
I know Stanford is such an amazing place with passion and drive for a better society, so that's ultimately why I chose it. I think it's just been such a crazy ride and I still can't believe it.
What inspired you to attend Ánimo Inglewood?
I think Ánimo Inglewood has been the best choice for me. I knew the schools in my area were not going to be able to provide me the education or the tools I needed to achieve my goals or higher education.
I know my cousin attended Ánimo Inglewood and graduated a couple of years ago. I think we just kind of trusted the process here, and now my sister is attending school here. I know she's going to like her experience as well.
What was your favorite class at Ánimo Inglewood?
It was definitely US history. I always talked a lot, and I think in that class, it was my time to question the history and learn our roots, where we come from, and why things are this way. My teachers allowed me to think and form my own opinions and solutions on problems we face.
What is your favorite high school memory?
That's difficult because there's so many, yet so little because my senior year was cut off— I mean half my junior year of high school was cut off too. But I think just the support I've gotten from all the teachers and admin. I think it's something so unexplainable like with Dr. Hong, our principal: I actually got a recommendation directly from her. They are always supportive and have kind words.