By Jane Fernandez
Ricardo Ramirez won third place in the Achieve the Dream contest, inspiring others to stay in school, aim for their best and to never stop dreaming.Ramirez was the only East Los Angeles College student to submit a video.
Achieve the Dream is a national nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping community college students, mostly low income, to stay in school and earn a college degree. The contest, Dream Big for College, is part of the Achieving the Dream student-centered campaign.
The contest addressed the question, “What keeps your dream of graduating college alive?” Participating students were encouraged to talk about their personal challenges, inspirations and connection to the programs offered to support graduation goals in a three minute video.
Ramirez first learned of the contest through a mass email that he received from the transfer center. Ramirez had never participated in any scholarship contest. He took the challenge as a last minute deal, mostly to show his niece and nephew that anything is possible.
The video he submitted was the second of two attempts, his first attempt was alongside his niece in which she asked him questions and he would answer them. The second attempt was filmed under his nephew’s direction. Although he did not expect to win, Ramirez wanted to get a message across. He wanted to tell his story and let everyone know that “education is not that hard, you just have to show up and do the work.”
His video won third place among 40 other videos. Ramirez went back to school in 2007 because he wanted to move on and have a better life, also because he wanted to be a good example to his family.
On December 2011, Ramirez obtained his Associates of Arts in Liberal Arts, as well as in Social and Behavioral Science. “People inspire me. My teachers, my classmates, my family, historical figures and my surroundings, ” Ramirez said.
Ramirez feels excited about studying and is now working toward finishing his transfer for his major in history. He has been in the Honors Program since 2009 and hopes to transfer soon.
Ramirez has been accepted to universities but his goal is to attend University of California, Los Angeles for his Masters Degree. Ramirez would also like to pursue a degree in science. He believes that education is key for success and part of his foundation is becoming educated.
“I would like to teach and serve the community by teaching and educating the next generations,” Ramirez said.
His dream is to someday be able to run his native country. After getting his Master’s he would like to go back to Mexico and do something big in education as well as get involved in politics.
Ramirez strongly believes in getting educated so you can educate others. He applies a quote by Theodore Roosevelt to his everyday life that said, “It isn’t enough to talk about change, one must believe in it and believing in it isn’t enough, one must work at it.”
Ramirez is proud to have put ELAC on the spot and he is also happy to tell others how ELAC is helping him achieve his dreams.