A Graduation Tribute to My Charter School and My Father

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Dania Garcia, a recent graduate of Mission Achievement and Success Charter School in New Mexico

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 father’s death was a huge struggle for me. He was the kind of man who would sit up late with me to help me with my homework. He made school my biggest priority. Thanks to the motivation and support from my dad, I was always an honor roll student.

When I was in the third grade, my life changed drastically. I lost my biggest supporter, my father. After he passed away, I had to stay strong for my mom. She was pregnant at the time and I knew I had to become her rock. I was completely lost without my dad, and I still have no idea how I managed to hide all the pain I felt.

In tenth grade, I exploded. Everything hit me at once, and I started out on a bad path, hanging out with the wrong people. The pressure of losing my father mixed with the hesitation of the future made it difficult for me to focus. I was struggling with my state of mind, getting depressed, and attempting to understand the loss of my father. I started to feel so alone and like there wasn’t any way out. I didn’t know what to do anymore. It got so bad I ended up in the hospital for two weeks after a suicide attempt.

Mission Achievement and Success Charter School (MAS) helped me stay strong. With the support system from my teachers, I was able to get back on track. This helped me to remember how I could make my father proud, even though he was gone. I went back to school and remembered my dad’s words: “School will get you through anything, so get well-educated.”

At my district school, the teachers didn’t care as much as they do at MAS. With strong role models like the Dean of Student Discipline Devon Meyers and Ms. JoAnn Mitchell, founder/executive director and principal of MAS, I began to believe in myself. Along with many others at MAS, they pushed me and gave me the extra support I needed. If I wasn’t in class, the school would relentlessly try to find out where I was. At my district school, they didn’t.

I started my freshman year at MAS, then transitioned into a traditional public school my sophomore year. I eventually came back to MAS for my senior year because I realized I needed the school’s support system again. Thank you, MAS!


Dania Garcia is a 2019 graduate of Mission Achievement and Success Charter School. She is currently focusing on becoming a medical doctor and continuing her educational goals at Central New Mexico Community College. She hopes to return to Mexico and practice medicine.


[Click to Tweet] Dania Garcia — a recent graduate of @MAS_charter in New Mexico — opens up about her father's death and how her school helped her to stay strong #CharterGrads

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