Recently we were visited by a former Esperanza School student named José. He told us he wanted to stop in and say hello to his teachers. We’re very glad that he did. While he was here, José told us about how he has built on his educational foundation since graduating nine years ago.

José has been regularly employed since graduating. Over the years he has worked for a local community center as well as a snow removal company. Now, he’s interested in being his own boss – José wants to start his own landscaping company. “I know that will take time, and a lot of hard work,” he says. “But I’m working on it.”

When asked about what remembers most about his time at Esperanza, he talks about a time when he wanted to give up. “I wanted to drop out,” José says. “But my teachers talked me out of it. They talked to me about the things I still needed to learn. So I stayed. I learned things like how to read and do math.”

A year ago, he married his wife Imelda, and they two now are parents of a happy, healthy baby — José Jr. They like to spend time with his wife’s family and watch movies.

Jose speaks fondly of his time at Esperanza. “It’s a nice place, and you taught me a lot.” When asked what advice he will give his own son, Jose’s says, “I’ll tell him to stay in school and listen to his teachers so he can be successful.” He pauses for a minute, then adds, “Life is nice if you know how to live.”

We’re so proud of José. His story is an inspiration to all Esperanza’s students, and students everywhere with developmental disabilities. We thank him for taking the time to share with us.

Joseph Gorgol, Esperanza School Principal