Juliana Diaz '11: Coming Home
Watching my mother struggle as I grew up was heart-wrenching. Being a single parent was not easy for her, and my questions like, “Where’s my dad?” or, “When will dad come back?” did not make the situation any easier. Although the pain was tough to endure at times, she always aimed to set an example of strength and perseverance. Often, it was impossible for her to give me what my heart most desired as a little girl. However, she took care of me when I’d get sick and provide me with a great abundance of love. As her only child she wanted the best for me; from the best pediatrician to the best education.
On a chilly winter evening, she found out about the “little blue building.” This little blue building known as Guadalupe Regional Middle School (GRMS) had been established in 2002 and ever since then, it had been receiving high praises. My mom had heard about Guadalupe through word of mouth and decided this place would be where I’d receive the best education.
This tuition-free, private Catholic school is located on the corner of 14th Street and East Lincoln -- transforming eighty lives at a time.
"Before taking the admissions exam my mother had stocked up on practice workbooks from Gateway Printing. For three months I practiced and studied as much as I could; attending GRMS had become a goal of ours."
On the day of admissions exam, there were about fifty eager, yet nervous, fifth grade students gathered for the same cause; being admitted into GRMS. Months passed by, and I hadn’t heard back from the little blue building. Later that spring, I finally received the letter in the mail from Guadalupe I had been hoping for. Luckily, I was one of the 32 to become part of the legendary “Bobcat family.”
The summer rolled on and August arrived only to increase my nerves. It was not only my first day of middle school, but the first day of a new and improved education. Once I got familiarized with the transition from elementary to middle school and from a public education to a private one, I realized how blessed I was. The faculty and staff was extremely supportive and they offered spiritual and personal guidance to help us grow into successful citizens. The education I received at Guadalupe went beyond the classroom; it was also about teaching us, the students, morals and values.
My experience at GRMS was a blissful one. Because the campus is small and cozy, students get attached to teachers and staff, but also to one another. At Guadalupe, I learned the meaning of friendship and how to look after one another.
"To this day, the friendships I made at GRMS have followed me all through my high school and college careers."
Aside from the education received and friendships created, Guadalupe opens doors of opportunities for their students. I was one of the few students who received a scholarship to attend Camp Marist in Ossipee, New Hampshire, where the sunsets and environment were majestic. At the end of the two weeks, I received a trophy from my cycling class, where we went on trips off of the property. In this class, we took on “Big Mama” -- one of the steepest roads in town. Being away from home for two weeks, at the age of fourteen, helped me slowly learn skills of independence through Camp. Although I felt homesick at times, nothing compared to my experience there. I met children and teens from (literally) all over the world.
"Camp Marist was just the beginning of opportunities. This fall, I came full circle, returning to Guadalupe as an intern. I couldn’t help but reminisce about my days on campus as a student. I was no longer sitting down in the beige desks, scribbling down notes, but was now part of the staff."
This time around, a few things had changed at the school. The campus now had a fan on the courtyard’s ceiling, they have gotten 2 buses, and incorporated multiple activities, like the House System, I wish were available in earlier generations. However, one thing hasn’t changed -- the faculty’s heart-warming welcoming and support. As the semester progressed, at times I found myself overwhelmed with school and work. Though I felt stressed, each time I stepped foot on campus, the little blue building instantly flooded me with serenity; I suppose it is something that naturally comes with the package. I was home.
Guadalupe Regional Middle School has become my home away from home, my safe haven, and an important part of my life. My mother and I have come a long way since we first heard about Guadalupe. It is because of the help and support of donors and the community that an education is made possible to families who desire a Catholic education but cannot afford one.
"I am proof of the positive results of the eleven year commitment GRMS makes to students."
Juliana Diaz '11 is an Education major at The University of Texas - RGV and has completed her internship with GRMS. She works at the Brownsville Aquatic Center as a lifeguard, is an intern at the Brownsville Historical Association, and is the Chair of GRMS's inaugural Alumni Service Board through our Graduate Support Program.