Meeting Expectations

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Geraldo Gonzalez wants to live up to his immigrant father’s expectations, but without the help he needs he’s struggling in school. His Perspective is another in a series produced for KQED’s Youth takeover week.

As a 15-year-old, my dad paid a Coyote to get him and his little brother across the border safely. Once they got to the U.S. they risked getting caught by ICE and lived with that fear for a majority of their lives until they were able to get papers four years ago. I know this story well. And that is because my dad is always telling me and my siblings this story of what he did to survive and provide for his family.

It is also a story that I am reminded of regularly when we talk about my education and how badly he wants me to get good grades, so I go to a good college and get a good job. He doesn’t want me doing the kind of job that he does.

He wakes up at 3:30 every morning to get to the construction site where he works until 5:00 pm. My dad is the opposite of lazy. He has worked this hard since he arrived in the U.S. and he will continue to do so for most of his life. My dad is my role model.

When I think that I might not graduate, I think about how it will affect my dad and mom. I become angry with myself. I am not doing well in school because I struggle with focusing. I have never gotten any help despite being promised special support in 4th grade. That never happened.


I want to do well not only for my parents, but also for my little sisters. I want to give them whatever they want. I will achieve my goal but it's not going to be easy. Despite my struggles, I am going to have to work as hard as my dad.

I am tired of people saying “Gerry, you’re not going to graduate.” I want to show them that even though my grades look bad I will improve them. I am going to go to college. I am very sad that people see no hope in me.

I would bet anyone a shiny nickel that if I had good grades I would not have to spend as much time talking about this today.

With a Perspective, I’m Geraldo Gonzalez.

Geraldo Gonzalez attends Ygnacio Valley High School. His Perspective was produced as part of KQED’s Youth Takeover week.