By Vanessa Lopez
President Barack Obama was re-elected, Proposition 30 was passed and the spirit of hope and the reward of hard work will continue to benefit the students at East Los Angeles College.
Hope is such a powerful word. Believe it or not, its power has run through this college for many years.
My grandfather told me about when he was a student here in the early 1960s. He said he saw President John F. Kennedy (then a Senator) speak at the East Los Angeles College’s stadium. I realized that the message of hope and the notion that hard work pays off has been here since then. “Year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation,” Kennedy said.
Hope is, and has been, a word I find all too familiar. “You have to have hope,” said my grandfather. As he continues to preach the value of hard work, he tells me a story of when he first started at ELAC.
He said he was in line to register for classes, and in line were students who, just like him, did not speak English. He ended up dropping out, choosing to party with his friends instead.
The following year, he gave it another shot, and got back in that registration line. While in line, he recognized a woman who was in line with him the year before. However, this time she spoke perfect English. “It got me thinking, look at how far I could have been had I not dropped out. Never give up,” he said. “No matter how hard it gets, have the hope that things will get better,” he said.
With this election still fresh in our thoughts, it reminds me more and more that hope, was and has been, a prominent fixture throughout both President Obama’s presidential campaigns. His beliefs in the future of our students are what will continue to help us grow as a country. As a matter of fact, Senator Ted Kennedy spoke to ELAC students in 2008, while campaigning for Obama. He called him a man of empathy, a man of heart and a man of soul.
The passing of Proposition 30 had many teachers and students, including me, relieved that the planned cuts will no longer take place. Now that the elections are over, we will no longer hear the preaching or see the ads that never seemed to stop running on the television. We can continue to put hard work into our educations with a little more of a cushion. Although more must be done, this is a good start.
After listening to my grandfather’s experiences at ELAC, researching the great men that have spoken to the students here, past and present, I start to realize most of us ELAC students come from humble beginnings, just like our president. And it’s remarkable that it can all start by an emotion called hope.