We Make Dreams to Attend College Come True!

We recently conducted an interview with TIA alumni, Victor Figueroa. Victor graduated from Tucson International Academy-Midvale in May of 2014. Victor’s dream to attend college has become a reality as he prepares to begin his second year at the University of Arizona. How many years did you attend TIA? I attended Tucson International Academy since 7th grade, so 6 years in total. Since I was one of the students that was there for a long time, I experienced the expansion of TIA Midvale which allowed me to be involved in the growth and changes. One of the changes I saw was that we went from having only two teachers teaching all the subjects to multiple teachers teaching various subjects. Have other members of your family attended college? In my immediate family no one has been able to pursue a higher education before, so I am the first generation to attend college. To which colleges did you apply and where did you end up deciding to attend college? When I was in high school I had a very vague idea of college. In my senior year at TIA,  thanks to the dual enrollment program they offered, I was able to take classes at Pima Community College. I knew that I wanted to attend and have the full college experience. However, I always thought that it was out of our family’s financial reach. I had heard terrible stories about students that go to college and obtain a degree, but then end up having so much loan debt that they cannot afford to live on their own. I did not want to end up drowning in debt, so I had to constantly evaluate my goals and my financial status to decide whether college was a viable choice for me. I decided to research schools that were close to home that offered generous scholarships. I found that our very own Northern Arizona University was on the list. Therefore, I decided to apply to NAU. The problem however is that I am a not a person that likes extremely cold weather or snow in the winter! So while I was happy that NAU accepted me with a very good scholarship, I was not sure that the Flagstaff weather was something I wanted to put up with for the next four years. However, I was relieved that the path to paying for college seemed brighter. I knew I wanted to stay in Arizona, so I also decided to apply to Arizona State University and University of Arizona. I received acceptance letters from both, although both colleges offered less aid than NAU. After weighing all the information, I chose to attend college at  University of Arizona. I chose U of A primarily because their computer science program rated higher than NAU and because I had already started an internship there. Did you do anything different to prepare the summer prior to starting college? Since my major is math intensive, I wanted to be more prepared for college level precalculus. Therefore, I decided to rent a trigonometry/precalc book and studied and worked on the questions in the book. Since I was doing an internship with the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) at the College of Optics, I asked my mentor whenever I had questions or concepts that I did not understand. By taking this initiative, once the semester started I was much more confident about my math skills. Can you remember your feeling the first few days of college? The first few days of college were challenging. I can still remember how out of place I felt coming from a small school into a student body of 35,000. At first I was so intimidated I felt like I may never fit in. However, I did not let that bring me down and kept striving. As each day passed I felt like I belonged there more and more. What have you found to be the biggest difference between high school and college? I would say that the biggest change between high school and college is the rigor of the work load and the freedom. In college there is no one setting up schedules for you or telling you where to go. Instead you have to decide on what’s best and manage your own time. The freedom that college allowed was a big change. While all that freedom is amazing, with bad judgment and or poor study and planning skills, it can become poison. It is ultimately up to the student if he or she wants to succeed. Tell us about where you are living. Are you living on campus? Since I chose a college that is close to home, I live off campus with my parents. However, from what I’ve learned, living on campus is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. What is your major? Minor? My major is Bachelors of Science in computer science. My minor  is Spanish. What have you found to be the most challenging part of college? What I have found most challenging about college is learning how to manage my time. Sometimes it feels as if there is no end to the amount of work needed to be completed. It gets even more stressful when there are multiple tests in one day. Thankfully, time management is a learnable skill and I have learned how to manage my time much better now. What is the best thing about attending college so far? The connections that you make and the material that you learn. While science and math are very challenging subjects, I also have the general education classes to cushion the rigor.  I like the fact that the options to learn whatever you want are limitless. Have you made a lot of new friends? Where did you meet most of them? College is about making connections; therefore, making friends is one exciting aspect that every student should look forward to. Most of my friends I have met through study groups and clubs. Clubs are a great way to make friends. How do you feel TIA best prepared you for college? I think that TIA really helped me prepare for college by offering the dual enrollment classes. Even though I only took 3 dual enrollment classes, it really helped me my first year and I had a pretty good idea of the rigor of college classes. I also think that the college and career fair helped me to ask questions and explore different career options and colleges. What final thoughts would you like to share with your friends back at TIA? I want to tell my fellow schoolmates back at TIA to work hard and don’t let anything make you quit. It is fine if you have no idea what you want to do or where you want to go, but don’t let your uncertainty hold you back from applying for internships, scholarships or colleges. I encourage every student to apply for as many scholarships as they can while they are still in high school no matter the award amount. They really do add up and help when you’re in college. I know I applied to over 50 scholarships while I was in high school and I only ended up getting 3, but those three scholarships put me through my first year of college without debt. I would also share with students that developing good work habits now will really help you to go a long way through college and beyond. Just keep being persistent! The journey to attend college may seem long and hard at times but before you realize it goals have been reached and it was all worth it! TIA makes dreams of college come true! Contact us today!
Victor FigueroaVictor FigueroaVictor Figueroa

A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence – Victor’s Story

“Good, better, best- Never let it rest!” The Winning Philosophy of Victor Figueroa -- Student at TIA

If you look up synonyms for the word victor, you will find words like championconqueror and winner. Victor Figueroa was actually named after his father, but all of those words can be used to describe this young man. Seventeen-year-old Victor has just completed his junior year at the Midvale Campus of Tucson International Academy, a premier charter school in Tucson with a strong college preparatory program. A journey in the pursuit of excellence, fueled by a strong work ethic and balanced with his compassion for others, Victor has come to embody the mission and values of the Tucson International Academy.

Fluent in 3 Languages

Victor has earned excellent grades all the years he has been attending Tucson International Academy. He also has learned to speak Chinese along with being fluent in Spanish and English. He won First Place in a competition with his poem in Chinese and then performed a poem in Spanish at the Cinco de Mayo fiesta where he also sang. Yet Victor’s true passion is computers and technology. He’s actually the person many teachers and other students go to for tech support! Attending Tucson International Academy has allowed Victor to do his college prep at a school that not only has small classes and offers courses like Chinese, but also excels in supporting the technically advanced student. With all of those accomplishments, Victor remains humble and other-focused. If you ask him, Victor will give much of the credit for his successes to Mrs. Enriquez, the principal at the Midvale Campus of Tucson International Academy. Victor says Mrs. Enriquez was there for him from his very first day at Midvale seven years ago right up to today. According to Victor, her encouragement and support are part of what sets his school apart from others.

“Good, better, best- Never let it rest!”

He also gives credit to his teachers, including Mr. Basurto, who teaches English, economics and Victor’s most challenging subject, history. It was from Mr. Basurto that Victor first heard, “Good, better, best- Never let it rest!” That phrase has become Victor’s philosophy and is included as part of the salutation on all his correspondence. When asked what the phrase means to him, Victor explained that it is a motto of always striving for improvement, never being satisfied with mediocre effort, but always giving his all. The challenge he says is what to do after giving your best. “That’s when you have to start thinking outside of the box!” he says enthusiastically. Victor’s parents must be beyond proud of their eldest son. Having both been born in El Salvador, Eunice and Victor Figueroa Sr. have taught their three children the value and importance of hard work, integrity, faith and family. Because of these kinds of values, Mr. and Mrs. Figueroa made sure that Victor and his two younger siblings could attend the Midvale Campus of Tucson International Academy; where not only excellence in education is the standard, but also where a strong supportive environment is provided in which their children can thrive. A school where all students can become victors! Enroll Now!     Story by Betty Kruszka~TheJ3Effect
a journey in the pursuit of excellence Victor