Back on track

Perez tells her story of perseverance en route to earning a certificate in audio engineering.

Raquel+Perez+and+her+family.+Perez+received+her+certificate+in+audio+engineering+during+HCC%27s+virtual+graduation+ceremony+May+22.

Courtesy of Raquel Perez

Raquel Perez and her family. Perez received her certificate in audio engineering during HCC's virtual graduation ceremony May 22.

Raquel Perez

I got my certificate in audio engineering!

I am 30-year-old mother of seven.

I dropped out of high school and became a teen mom of twin boys at 16.

It took me years to get back on track but I did. I was on one path and then moved so this certification actually took me years.

Last year, I decided enough was enough and took hold of my future and pushed hard. The summer classes were four days a week. I rode two trains and kick scooter for six weeks to make them. I once was so disoriented from heat I missed my stop and rode for 30 extra minutes before I realized it.

I had a baby … well, three while going to school. My kids’ ages now are 14, 14, 13,10, 2, 2 and 1. I missed time with them, but actually having something to show for it is amazing.

I stopped getting in my own way and made it work. Now I’m five classes away from my associates and who know maybe my bachelor’s one day.

I am sad COVID took the milestone. I never walked across stage since I’m a dropout, so I was excited to do it and with my family watching would have been great.

I am celebrating at home though, and I am just appreciative I get a chance in December.

I dedicate my degree to my mother, who never stopped and showed me that life is only as good as you make it.

I also dedicate my degree my beautiful kids, who all give me reason to wake up every day, and my husband, who supported me and lets me follow my path.

I couldn’t do and be who I am without them or the rest of my family. My father, brothers and sister and my stepfather.