Jesus, Jose and Maria Chua-Laborin are 17-year-old triplets from Tucson , where they reside with relatives, as their parents live and work in Mexico. These three exceptional students are on track to graduate from Ombudsman Arizona Charter Valencia in 2016 and 2017.
Q: What was your experience like at traditional high school?
A: (Maria) There was no real connection with the teachers at our traditional high school. At Ombudsman, we have great relationships with all of our teachers who help us when they don’t even have to. They’re very flexible.
Q: What inspires you to be proactive about your education?
A: (Jesus) My mom and dad inspire me. They don’t have a high school education, and they’ve sacrificed everything in order for us to get a good education in the United States.
A: (Maria) My future family inspires me – I want them to have a better life. Too many people take family for granted, but we know the value of family, because our parents have sacrificed everything for us to be where we are today.
Q: What do you like most about Ombudsman?
A: (Jose) The teachers make it easy to learn. When my math teacher finds that one of us is struggling, he’ll tell a funny story that helps us understand better.
A: (Jesus) Ombudsman sets us up with everything we need to graduate from high school and be successful afterwards, no matter what.
A: (Maria) When you come to Ombudsman, its family.
Q: Has Ombudsman helped you prepare to find a job after high school?
A: (Jose) Ombudsman has definitely helped us prepare for life outside of these doors. We have a program (C-Tech) that helps us learn and plan for a career in technology. My brother, sister and I are all a part of the program and will receive nationally-recognized certifications once we’ve completed it.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
A: (Jose) I want to have a family of my own. I also want to bring my little sister to the United States, so that she can have the opportunities that we have. My parents are from a small town in Mexico that everyone tries to leave (where we lived for about six years when my dad lost his Visa). And although we made it out, they’re still there. So, I’m working hard for my family.
A: (Jesus) Eventually, I want to move back to Mexico with my tech skills, to help build up the technology efficiency in my home country.
A: (Maria) I want to bring my parents and little sister back to the United States, because they’ve already sacrificed so much for us. I want my little sister to learn English, so that she’s bilingual and has better opportunities.
Q: What advice would you give to other teens like you?
A: (Jose) Appreciate what you have now, and do all you can do, before you lose the opportunities that can change your life.
A: (Jesus) Stay in school and don’t do drugs!
A: (Maria) Take advantage of all opportunities presented to you before it’s too late –you can’t afford to give up on yourself. One day, everything you put into your education will come back to you.
Q: What impact has your education and upcoming graduation had on the people around you?
A: (Jose) Because very few people in my family have completed high school, our education gives them a sense of pride.
A: (Maria) Sometimes, my mom does unsafe work around the house because she doesn’t know (that it’s unsafe). But now I have the knowledge to educate her, so that she’s empowered to live safely. Any little thing that I learn, I make sure I teach it to my family.