We are Rocketeers because we believe in empathy and community. We have been at Rocketship Los Sueños Academy for five years and we can honestly say they have been extraordinary. Despite our different background experiences, our teachers at RLS taught us being different is not only interesting: it makes us special.
We went from being too shy to make friends to forming friendships with girls who showed us empathy, who pushed us to work harder and to be role models at our school. Our caring group of friends, teachers and staff around school became a safety blanket that made learning possible and enjoyable every day.
We are Rocketeers because we believe in persistence and excellence. Yes, we earned good test scores while at Rocketship, but are test scores our most important achievements? After all, we did not just gain a good education with warm, compassionate and intelligent teachers. At Rocketship, we learned to believe in ourselves, to be confident our unique talents are powerful enough to change the world. In the fourth grade open space, a blur of a hundred fourth grade kids, Ms. Orozco and Mr. Crabtree taught us to trust our abilities to do anything and to be persistent in the face of challenges. At the beginning of fourth grade, we were all too shy to raise our hands, afraid our voices would get lost in the sea of fourth graders; now, our fifth grade teachers have to make sure other students have opportunities to share as well! When we first came to RLS, we were small, too shy to share our ideas; as we leave for middle school, we will become strong and courageous young women. For some of us, our Rocketship family helped us make it through some challenging moments in our lives outside of school. Even though the world seemed to change entirely around us, coming to school was as safe as going home. Our RLS family made us feel protected, loved and safe. Learning was an opportunity to grow wings.
We are Rocketeers because we believe in ourselves as leaders of our communities. Our teachers at RLS see beyond our assessment scores and our growth points. They do not just see as average ten year-olds. Our teachers truly believe in us and they express this to us in multiple ways. Our teacher, Ms. Valdez, created a 5th Grade Mentors Club so every day at lunch, we could make sure our kindergarten and first grade friends were experiencing success in their classrooms. Change in our community means the success of every student is valued and supported. Teachers cannot do this alone. We want to show our younger Rocketeers what it looks like to be motivated leaders. We will write the books that Rocketeers will read twenty years from now. We will be the scientists, engineers and lawyers of the next generation.
With our fifth grade teachers, we climbed to the peak of a waterfall in Yosemite Park on the last day of Science Camp. We pulled our bodies across boulders and helped each other make the impossible leaps onto taller rocks. We slipped and held onto each other to prevent the fall. We coached each other using positive and encouraging words. In that moment, our strength and our friendship made us leaders. We could do anything. We could climb Mount Everest and sail across rough seas. We could invent our world anew and discover cures to the most deadly illnesses. We are not just in school to learn, but to use our intelligence and dedication to encourage and inspire others.
We are Rocketeers because we are as powerful as our teachers. We are Rocketeers because the future is ours.
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Ximena Valverde-Betancourt is a fifth grader at RLS with a passion for reading. Her favorite book is Romeo and Juliet. She wants to grow up to become a lawyer.
Anjana Aravindakshan is a fifth grader at RLS. She will start middle school at Magnolia Science Academy next fall. She loves Harry Potter and wants to be a scientist when she grows up.
Corina Carrillo is a fifth grader at RLS with a passion for music. She is thankful to have so many close friends at RLS. She is so excited to start middle school with her close friends from RLS.
Karla Barboza is a fifth grader at RLS. Her favorite memories from elementary school include going to science camp and getting to know her teachers. Her favorite musician is The Weeknd and she loves the color pink.
Bryana Murillo is a fifth grader at RLS. Her parents drive her to San Jose from Tracy, CA everyday. Her favorite color is pink and she loves to read and write. When she grows up, she wants to be a doctor like her mom.