• Posted on: April 8, 2010

EOYDC Pathway-To-College Oakland Magazine Article (2010)

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Oakland Magazine PTC

Alejandra Basketball

MOST LIKELY TO Be … An Advocate for Children Name: Alejandra Parades School: Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy College Options: USF, Holy Names, San Diego State

“I love kids because they are so innocent and trusting. And so fun.”

Alejandra Parades knows she wants to work with kids. She’s leaning toward being a pediatric nurse because “saving lives is something powerful to do.”
A small issue might get in the way of that plan.
“I had an accident in the summer,” Alejandra said. “I cut my finger and I saw my blood and I fainted.”
She promises she only reacts that way to blood when it’s her own, but she acknowledges looking forward to some techniques in nursing school to help make her comfortable with even her own blood. Clearly, Alejandra isn’t deterred by obstacles.
She arrived in the United States from Tijuana when she was 8. She had to learn a new language and a new culture. She took her first flight recently, flying to Washington, D.C., to tour the White House.
That’s what she wants to pass on to kids — a willingness to try new things, to broaden their horizons. She says she loves the innocence of children, their ability to trust. She’s a sucker for their bright eyes, big dreams and vivid personalities.
She developed a passion for children while working with them at EOYDC and playing big sister to her three siblings.
“They don’t listen to me,” Alejandra, smiling, says of her two brothers. “They’re like, ‘Who are you to tell me what to do?’ I still give them advice anyway.”
It’s hard to tell Alejandra struggled with fitting in. Notice her in her snazzy urban gear. Hear her smoothly spew the latest slang as she talks about how her mom sometimes doesn’t understand. View her transcripts and a 4.23 GPA.
Clearly, Alejandra has shattered her obstacles. Now, she just has to conquer that fainting thing.

 


Aja

MOST LIKELY TO BE … A Renown Global Philanthropist Name: Aja Seldon School: Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy College Options: Clark Atlanta, NYU, Columbia

“How much more are we going to take? We had the tsunami. Then we had Hurricane Katrina. Now Haiti. And people don’t hear too much about what is going on in Nicaragua. How much more can the people take?”

Aja Seldon vents, mostly to her mom, Rashon. She engages in discussion. She writes in a journal. It’s how she copes. Because, sometimes, her heart actually hurts.
“I get it from my mother,” Aja says. “She is passionate. She does spoken word. That is how she gets her voice out. Me, I stand up for causes.”
Perhaps the only thing rivaling the size of her heart is her brain. A 4.0 student, she plans to major in business management and minor in drama in college. The intrigue of the black college experience has her leaning toward Clark Atlanta. Why business? Because saving the world requires money.
Inspired by the likes of Bill Gates, Aja has big plans to impact the lives of others — community centers, charitable foundations, education programs abroad. She is already working with underprivileged kids at the East Oakland Youth Development Center.
Aja did a global study abroad in Nicaragua. The group visited a garbage dump, where people lived. A bell rings there when new trash comes and people gather to scavenge. She saw one man eat a banana. A woman came up to her, speaking in Spanish. The translator said the woman was asking for help because her daughter was raped.
Aja started crying on the spot.
“I always think about what I can do to fix the problem,” she says. “You can’t always just fix it like that.”

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