Jerome Balancer is a Morse Tiger who can run a mile in under five minutes. He is a self-proclaimed science geek… and proud! As a junior, he was selected to attend COSMOS (The California State Summer School in Mathematics and Science at UC San Diego: a rigorous, four-week residential program for talented and motivated students). Jerome plans to study Biology in college.
Six years ago, my siblings and I, along with my father, moved to the U.S. from the Philippines. We started out as a typical family in pursuit of work and better life standards. As we spent more time in our new home, the tether that held our family together began to disintegrate due to stress—both financially and mentally. The transition was difficult.
My family used to be close. This changed because my father was constantly working and was not able to spend time with us. In addition, the usual family arguments and fights became more frequent and intense. My family began to talk less but yelled more. There were nights where I did homework as my brother and sister cursed and threw things at each other. I felt isolated. Father, exhausted from the volatile home environment and financial issues, has decided to move us back to the Philippines in the summer of 2017.
Through all this, I indulged myself in academics and sports. Running became a lifestyle and served as a coping mechanism. Also, I accepted this fact: Mother was not here. I had to stand on my own feet and made no excuses for not completing my homework and projects. I did exceptionally well academically, but I was always unhappy due to family problems. However, not wanting my father’s hard work to go to waste, I kept my grades up and continued to play sports. In the process, I learned about my capabilities, weaknesses, and strengths. I am not naturally talented, but I persevered and worked hard to be in the top 5% of my class, and one of the fastest on the track team.
This year, graduating in white with a weighted cumulative GPA of over 4.0, I proved to myself I could overcome this dilemma. I am happy now; I see these challenges as the burden of the past, not the present. I was always uncertain about the future; worried about not being able to finish high school here due to my father’s plans to return to the Philippines. Regardless, I am graduating from Morse High and I am going to college.
– “Senior Saturday” blog post by Rea Concepcion, Academy Instructor at Reality Changers