DALLAS – For more than 10 years, the Parents Advocating for Student Excellence (PASE) program has helped parents help their children graduate high school. Parents like Margarita believe in the impact PASE makes in her family.
In 2008, Margarita first attended the PASE program at Mount Auburn Elementary School in Dallas, Texas. Her daughter Alondra was 10 years old, and Margarita knew she wanted her daughter to start thinking about college but felt lost in trying to understand the U.S. education system.
“Before starting the PASE program, I did not understand the education system in the U.S because it is completely different in Mexico,” Margarita said. “I did not know what to ask my daughter’s teachers when I visited them. I would simply ask ‘how is my child doing?’ and they would simply tell me ‘she’s doing good’ and that would be all I would ask.”
Ten years later, Alondra has graduated high school and is now in college studying to become a dentist. Because of Margarita’s commitment to her daughter’s education, higher education was not only a dream but a possibility.
Margarita now knows what it takes to get her children to college and currently is taking the PASE program again this year at Mount Auburn Elementary School where her 8-year-old daughter, Amaya is attending.
“I made the decision to take the PASE program again because I always tell myself that even after taking something once I can always learn something new or remember something I might have forgotten to continue helping my children,” Margarita said. “I also want Amaya to see that I am interested and involved with things that happen at her school.”
Since repeating the program, Margarita has gained the confidence to make decisions in the types of classes and programs her children should take in school. In fact, Amaya is now part of the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program at school and is one of the brightest students in her class.
As a parent who was not able to complete school, she is doing everything she can to help her children graduate high school and earn a college degree. Her goal is to discontinue the cycle of dropping out of high school in her family.
“I explain to my children that by having a degree they can earn more and work less so they will not have to look for cleaning jobs like me, because it is very tiring,” Margarita said. “That is why I explain to them that by having more education they will have better jobs and a better life than what I could give them.”
Margarita has learned about the requirements needed to graduate high school, how important learning at home is, and how important is it to show her children that she really cares about their education.
“When I saw [Alondra] walk the stage and get her high school diploma I was so proud she achieved the first step to become a dentist,” Margarita said. “I learned that by supporting her in her education she is able to achieve her goals.”
As a parent who does not speak fluent English and came from another country, she learned that anything is possible if parents search for the tools and resources in their community, like the PASE program.
The PASE program gives parents the tools and resources needed to help their children build a healthy self-esteem, graduate from high school, and continue to have success after high school.