Ánimo Watts College Preparatory Academy Senior Ruby Esparza is one of 13 Green Dot students to receive the prestigious Dell Scholarship award in 2021. The program, funded by the Susan & Michael Dell Foundation, provides students with a Dell Laptop, textbook credits, academic resources, mentorship opportunities—and a $20,000 scholarship.
Within a matter of months, Esparza and her family plan to relocate to Oklahoma, where Esparza will continue her journey to college. We asked Esparza to reflect on her recent achievement, and how her high school experience has prepared her as a future leader and difference-maker.
Q: What Does A College Education Mean To You?
A: Growing up in my household, I was always told by my parents that I needed to get an education. They explained to me that my education was the one thing no one could ever take away from me and getting a college education was the most direct way of being successful. Getting a college education to me means continuing my parent's legacy and making them proud. It also means that I will have an advantage in choosing my field.
What Will You Miss Most About Your High School—and about LA?
I’ll miss how small my school is. We had to be able to communicate with teachers, to network with them. I’ve had some really amazing teachers that have supported me throughout my whole high school career.
What I would miss most about LA would be the diversity and food and how open people are here.
What Is an Accomplishment That You're Most Proud of During Your High School Career?
Becoming a Posse finalist has been my greatest accomplishment. I wasn't officially selected, but I still got as far. That experience gave me the courage to apply to other scholarships. It was like a push.
What Extracurricular Activities Have You Participated In?
During my freshman year, I was on the soccer team, and I played defense, and also sometimes forward. I was also a part of the after school art clubs. I know I was really active in art, except for last year because, you know, the time got cut short because of Covid. And I didn't really know that we were even having our clubs, until this year when I joined even more clubs.
But even as a senior, online clubs have helped me balance my social life and my academic life. I joined driver's ed, graphic design, and calligraphy. Joining those clubs have helped me be more social, so I’m not home bored all day.
How Will The Dell Scholarship Help You Reach Your Goals?
Since I am a first generation student there’s so much that I don’t really know about college. The scholarship will give me financial relief, but it will also give me emotional and academic help.
At Green Dot Schools, our educators, staff, and school leaders are dedicated to dismantling any and all barriers to education. Through college tours, senior bridge, and rigorous coursework, we’re preparing the next generation of leaders every day. We look forward to celebrating more wins among our students.