2021 Region 5 Every Student Succeeding

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Tenacity has helped student pursue her passion for social change

Monia Walker
Grade: 12
School: Abraham Lincoln High School
District: San Francisco USD
ACSA region: 5

Monia Walker exudes charisma and confidence. Every morning, she made the one-hour commute to Abraham Lincoln High in San Francisco Unified School District. She decided to attend Abraham Lincoln as a result of limited opportunities in her home community.

Monia quickly immersed herself in clubs and activities, including the Black Student Union. And this fall, she’ll become the first person in her family to attend college. Monia plans to pursue a career in criminal justice at San Francisco State University.

You’re living in a community where you’ve said you feel like there are limited opportunities. So you made the decision to commute to a school that is an hour away from your house. What is that commute like for you?
The commute that I go to school in is very challenging because it’s not something that you find people doing every day. People normally go to school close to their homes and their neighborhoods. But for me, I like to take a challenge. I like to go further out. I like to learn more things about different people and see what they’re really about. I like to take on new challenges.

You’ve been involved in the Black Student Union and you’ve said diversity is very important to you. Why is that?
Diversity matters so much to me because I live in a community where there’s not just one particular race. There are so many different races in my community. And when I go to school, I’m surrounded by different races. In my community, we like to share and we’re like a family. When I go to school, it’s different. So in the BSU, we’re a family because we’re trying to fight for equality.

You’ve had some encounters throughout your life that left you feeling inadequate. How have you been able to persevere through those moments?
I don’t listen to what people say. I just believe in motivation and tenacity. And I work for what I really want. If this is what I want, I’m going to work for it. And I’m not going to listen to what anyone is saying or let them bring me down because I know I’m more than that.

You’ve expressed interest in studying criminal justice in college. Why does that appeal to you?
I want to study criminal justice after high school because I’ve always wanted to be a part of social change. In my community, that’s what we do. On Christmas, we fed the homeless. We gave back. That’s what we do. There are things that I’ve witnessed in my community and in my school. I’m in BSU. I’m in a social justice change class. So, this is something I’ve always wanted to do. And being the first in my family to go to college, that’s something that I’ve always wanted to do.

What advice would you give to other students who are in similar situations?
My advice to people who are in similar situations is to keep tenacity. There’s going to be a point in time where you want to give up and I know that. I’ve been there before. But if this is something that you really want, you have to go for it. You have to keep going. You have to be motivated because your future is in your hands.