My name is Rubi Torres and I am first year corps member with City Year Los Angeles. I am also proud graduate of Virgil Middle School, the very same school I am serving in this year.

When I think about my middle school years, I can clearly remember how hard it was to be a 6th grader. Back then, classrooms were overcrowded and external influences around my neighborhood made it a struggle to stay focused and motivated. I needed additional one-on-one support, especially in math, because I often struggled to understand concepts, but did not feel comfortable asking for help. At one point, I thought that I might not graduate. I could have very easily been one of the students City Year tutors. However, my parents instilled in me the discipline and values I needed to stay on track. With them keeping me focused, I was able to find my love for learning, finish high school, and attended college at UC Riverside, becoming the first person in my family to graduate from college.

Every student at Virgil deserves to have the support I had, if not more. City Year provides me the opportunity to act on my passion for education and be the bridge that fills the gap between my students’ knowledge and their teachers’ expectations. This year, I will be the individual they can count on for support when they struggle. Along the way, I am also going to expose them to the limitless opportunities that an education provides, push them to be curious and ask questions, and develop their skills and self-confidence. It has been eight years since I finished middle school and I am honored to walk Virgil’s grounds again, give back to my community, and be a positive example for my students.

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