Meet the Richmond Promise Scholars, a growing movement of hundreds of students from Richmond and North Richmond who are currently attending over 100 colleges and universities. They are beneficiaries of the Richmond Promise college preparedness, scholarship and guidance program, which is part of a $35 million, 10-year investment by Chevron to help make college more affordable and attainable for local students. For some students, the Promise wasn’t just an opportunity to achieve their college dream, but also to help younger generations do the same. In this series, we feature interns from the Summer Associates program talking about their experience.
Jada Saechao is a 2018 graduate of De Anza High School who also attended Juan Crespi Middle School in El Sobrante. Despite obstacles she endured, she outperformed and shined among her graduating class, walking the stage as salutatorian with a 4.8 GPA. She went on to complete her first year at UC Davis and cannot imagine it going any better. She is motivated to go directly into a Ph.D. or Masters program right after completing her bachelors, as she dreams of one day being a Professor and Researcher at her Alma Mater.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Expand on hardships/motivational factors that influence you to this day.
A: “Having grown up in a split household, navigating through school had always been a challenge and there was a perpetual sense of not belonging. Although I did cultivate lasting relationships with peers and faculty, there was never a day that I didn’t feel excluded from my counterparts. Unable to experience the traditional experience of a single household, I was placed under a constant state of anxiety and I had no real sense of home. However, this nomadism was a source of direct fuel for my academic inclination. School became a source of stability in my life when all other outlets failed me, and these circumstances prompted me to become the student that I am today. Although this hardship was strenuous and draining at times, it directly characterized the journey that I was meant to take.”
Q: How has the Richmond Promise played a role in your education?
A: “The Richmond Promise has given me the opportunity to fulfill an overarching goal of mine: to be apart of something bigger than myself. Through this organization, I have gained a support system and a sense of belonging that I’ve been in search of for a very long time. Throughout my first year of college, there were definitely times in which I questioned if the struggle was really worth it and if I would be able to get through the tribulations. However, Richmond Promise provided me with constant support and provided me with a source of aid in times of need. Now I am currently a Summer Associate and am so grateful to be apart of a team that is dedicated to giving back to the city of Richmond. Being the resource to other students that I never had is an extremely humbling experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Q: What do you want to contribute to Richmond or the world?
A: “I want to contribute to the education that I’m currently receiving to individuals all over the world. I plan on becoming a professor in the future to carry out this goal in order to inspire others to do the same. I am extremely grateful to be afforded the current opportunities that I have access to and want to be a resource for others as well.”
Q: Can you tell us about your current college experience?
A: “To say that I love UC Davis would be an understatement. Initially, during my years within secondary schooling, my dream institution was UC Berkeley; I was adamant on attending due to it being my father’s and three aunts’ alma mater and I did everything in my power to do so. Graduating as the salutatorian of my class with a 4.8 GPA while maintaining a part-time job and EAOP summer programs, I thought that there was no doubt that I’d be able to accomplish this long-awaited dream of mine. However, I, unfortunately, was denied admission and the world as I knew it started crumbling before my eyes. I experienced a state of denial for quite some time and SIR’ed to Davis just because it was my best option. At that point, I just wanted to give up and felt as if all my hard work amounted to nothing. However, after the completion of my first year at Davis, I am proud to say that I am an Aggie and view it as my second home. The sense of community and the great faculty on campus are just some aspects that I’ve come to love about the city, and I continue to fall more in love with it every day. In the end, my rejection became the catalyst for the realization of where I truly belong and only further reiterated that everything happens for a reason regardless if you don’t understand what that reason is in the moment.”
Q: What are you looking forward after receiving your bachelor’s/transferring?
A: “After I receive my Bachelor’s degree in both Economics and Political Science, I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics and becoming a professor thereafter. Throughout my pursuit to higher education, I have cultivated a genuine love for learning and I hope to become a source of light for others to learn from in the future. I feel as if it is a personal responsibility of mine to educate others and cannot wait to be able to live out my dreams of becoming an educator.’