This blog post is part of our celebration of charter school graduates across the country and their achievements. Join us in celebrating our #CharterGrads!
My name is Oscar Panfilo. This is my big year. I recently graduated from Synergy Quantum Academy thanks to the staff that believed in me, even when I did not believe in myself.
I became a part of the Synergy family in middle school when I entered Synergy Kinetic Academy as a 6th grade student. Middle school was typical. I had my ups and down as I tried to fit into the school culture. Even though the school was in South Los Angeles where I grew up, the charter school was a little different from the school I was used to in my part of South L.A. I struggled my first two to three years of high school, not so much academically, but behaviorally. School was a joke to me. I did not take it seriously. I did not have the mindset I have now. I convinced myself that I did not need the advice of anyone. I knew everything already. I actually considered dropping out of school all together. That is when a staff member came to my rescue.
The staff member was Mrs. Silber, the school’s assistant principal at the time. After school, she would find me and give me pep talks. She was always checking on me and she even wrote a letter to the judge when I was supposed to be locked up. It showed me that someone cared about me. She cared about what happened to me. She kept saying, “You have to break the stereotype of South Los Angeles boys. You have to go to college.” No one in my family went to college. I am the first.
I intend to enter El Camino College in the fall. It is a community college. I wanted to attend a four-year college, but my grade point average was not what it should have been. I plan to transfer to a four-year college in the near future. The high school experience has taught me a lot about myself. All my teachers and the staff have been so supportive even in those years when I was busy making bad decisions. I did not expect the kind of bonds and friendships that I have formed with my teachers at Synergy.
The most important part of graduation for me was seeing the expressions on the faces of my family and being able to walk across the stage and get my diploma and say I graduated. There have been people who have said, “You are not going to graduate. Why are you still here?” But thanks to everyone at Synergy who helped me to see my potential that I at first couldn’t see in myself, I graduated on June 7th.
We are not kids any more. It is time to take school and life seriously. I appreciate the whole Synergy family for instilling this knowledge in me.
Oscar Panfilo is a 2019 graduate of Synergy Quantum Academy. In the fall he will attend El Camino College.
[Click to Tweet] Oscar Panfilo, a recent graduate of @WeAreSynergy, describes how his charter school helped to propel his life in the right direction #CharterGrads