A native of Los Angeles, Rosal Chavira served with City Year Chicago in 2012 and 2013. She graduated from Grinnel College in Iowa in 2011, and is a former Posse Scholar. Rosal currently works as a Site Lead for Math+, a program run through the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL).
Can you tell us a little about your current role and its relationship with AUSL?
I coordinate Math+ for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. I supervise eight tutors; each tutor has two to three kids and the teacher has [his or her] own group, which gives the students more individual attention. Math+ has been a part of AUSL for three years now. They began to see that a lot of schools in our network had really low math scores. AUSL wanted to focus on one thing and get really good at that one thing. For us it was math, because numbers are universal."
What motivates you to continue serving others, even after you've completed your years of service?
"Being raised by two immigrant parents, a lot of what we see is that students from low-income communities are not given the academic resources to succeed. I was really blessed throughout elementary and middle school because I had mentors who knew that I wanted to learn. Ultimately, I began to see how people along my educational journey pushed me to reach a level of academics that my family wasn’t familiar with.
"For me, coming from that background and serving students from that same background, I encouraged parents to advocate for their children. When I talked to parents, I heard the same type of story; 'I’m poor; I’m not from here.' Being able to set up a venue for them to work hard and go to college is what has kept me in the education world. Just knowing that I was in their shoes comes with a lot of pride and purpose. I want to give students the same opportunity to be successful that I had."
Is there any aspect of City Year culture that you still use today?
What don’t I use? I think for me, it’s always being very idealistic, but also very realistic. If you focus on one cause, you can move mountains. But you also have to be realistic. I would love to say 100% of students graduate every year, but that’s not always the case. Wherever I go, I want to make sure I am giving students the space to have big dreams, but also to teach them to be realistic. It’s going to be a hard journey, but it’s not an impossible journey to get through.
Thanks for sitting down with us, Rosal! We look forward to bringing you more great stories from our alumni!