Today we’re featuring a guest post from high school student Edgar who earned his EVERFI – Financial Literacy for High School certification last spring. Edgar shares about his family’s move to the United States, their focus on the value of schooling, and his goal to complete his education. We’re thrilled to learn the EVERFI program has helped him develop the financial foundations to achieving this goal! Congratulations to Edgar for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Student: Edgar
Teacher: Mrs. Wilke
School: Jefferson High School
State: Illinois
Sponsor: Rockford Bank & Trust

My parents always told me that I should go to college and finish school. I never really understood why until I came upon this website- EVERFI. EVERFI has opened my eyes and taught me that school and education are the key things that will help me be successful. And, to me, true success would be to achieve my dream of going to college and being the first generation in my family to actually finish my education. I want to prove to my parents that all of the sacrifices they made for me will pay off in the long run.

My mother and father are not from this country. Both of my parents are from a little town in a poor place in Mexico called Monclova, Coahuila. In his life in Mexico, my father confronted many conflicts such as; gangs, drug money, corrupt government, etc. I see my mother as a role model because she came from a place in Mexico where starvation and poverty were the norm. Since my mother was the oldest in her family, and her own mother was often working, my mother had to mature at a very young age and take care of her seven siblings. She had all of these responsibilities and, yet, she still had time for her education.

In fact, by the time she was 18, she had already finished high school with honors and finished college with a degree in criminal justice. She had all of this going for her but in 2001, at the age of 25, she married my father and, together, they decided to move to the United States. The sad part is, in the U.S., all of her education was worthless. She had no job, no valid education, and nowhere to live. Although, this did not stop her and, even though they were going through some really hard times, both my father and mother worked. They worked and worked a lot until they could finally afford a little apartment on the south west side of town.

Growing up, I heard many terms that I never understood like mortgage, down payment, inflation, and repossession. I never understood what these terms meant until now. Thanks to EVERFI, I understand how hard my parents have had to work in order to take care of us. Only now, do I understand why my mother always told me to stay in school and to appreciate, and take advantage of, the opportunities that America’s school system (which is nothing like it is in Mexico) offers. So, recently, I asked my mother why she would leave all of her hard work and all of the opportunities she could have had in Mexico. She responded by stating that all of the opportunities she could have had in Mexico, and all of the money that she could have made, would be no comparison to the joy she will feel once she sees me graduate from college. After hearing her say this, I am more determined than ever to succeed and work hard to get my education.

The reason that I completed EVERFI is not because of the grades my teacher is putting in for the modules but because I found this project relevant. Relevant to the way that I can use my money in the future and how I can invest it. EVERFI showed me different solutions to financial problems I might encounter. It showed me ways to help fund my college education. It taught me about mortgages and ways to plan for my retirement. All of these things that I didn’t understand before suddenly came together and made sense to me. EVERFI has helped me immensely because, now, I know about all of these things that people my age and, sometimes, even my parents do not understand.

Although my parents have faced all of these problems, they still have found a way to keep me out of a bad environment. Today, we are not rich. We don’t have a new car, and we don’t own a house. But, today, I can say that I live better than I did a couple of years ago. Today, I can say that I think differently than I did a while ago. It would be a great honor for me to earn the EVERFI scholarship, and I know it would make my family proud. Thank you.