Maria Mendoza Cordero

February 3rd, 2010 ·
  • 2009 Martin Paley High Hopes Scholarship recipient
  • University of California, Davis

Last year I visited my ancestral home Guatemala, a vision that brought to life a visual representation of my parent’s stories. I had always been aware of poverty, but I did notcomprehend how it defines one’s life. There is a picture I cannot get out of my head: a house whose walls were made out of plastic garbage bags and cardboard, where pieces of thin aluminum sheets held the cardboard roof down. I silently thought, “how could anyone live here?” My eyes circled through the house, to the trash surrounding it to the creek, seeing layered garbage everywhere. The creek was the only source of water for the family. Experiencing first-hand the lifestyle my parents led made me eternally grateful to not have had that life. This trip inspired me to think critically about how important it is to take advantage of my education and volunteer opportunities and help the environment. With that in mind, I have become dedicated to conserve National Parks and recreational areas at home and nationwide.

Maria’s updates

“Her commitment to her goals, humanitarian beliefs, devotion to her school, position of respect in her family, and innate thirst for the acquisition of knowledge truly separates her from any student in Berkeley and Oakland. Her attitude and action truly represent all that is admirable of today’s students.”

Teacher, Berkeley High School