A Tale of Two Santa Anas: Edgar Morales

Editor’s note:  We are so proud of our graduating high school students, who later this year will begin attending colleges and universities.  “A Tale of Two Santa Anas” is our latest blog series, where the seniors tell their personal story in their own words.

I guess not everyone grows up on a street where you have to avoid gun crossfire from feuding gangs from the time you start walking to school as a kindergarten student all the way through high school.

But that’s how it is on Townsend Street where I still live.  I constantly have to check my surroundings, looking behind me and side-to-side, whenever I leave our apartment.

I’m 17-years-old now, but gangs and violence are still an everyday fact of life on my street

As a kid, I learned that anything could happen, and it often did.

But I never joined a gang.  And neither did my 21-year-old brother, Javier.  It just wasn’t for us.

I recently graduated from Mater Dei High School, and in September I will begin attending California State University, East Bay, in Northern California.

My dream is to become an architect.

I’ve attended KidWorks programs since kindergarten.  Now, I volunteer there six days a week, tutoring second, fifth and eighth graders.  I also help out with the “Love & Music” program for aspiring musicians.

When I tutor at KidWorks, I remember all the volunteers who encouraged me when I was frustrated with my homework and wanted to give up.

I recall the words of my KidWorks tutors from years ago, and say them back to the young kids I’m now helping:  “You are really smart.  You can totally do this.  You made it this far.  Now, keep going.”

My tutors’ words of wisdom will never leave me.  They keep me motivated and focused as I take my next steps forward towards a university degree and successful career.


By Edgar Morales