24 March 2013

Maria Socorro Corona: Prioritizing Education

The Ms. Foundation for Women is celebrating Women’s History Month with a blog carnival featuring the voices and profiles of women across the country. This Month of Action is generously supported by our friends in Seattle. 

By Maria Socorro Corona

I have five children in school. I live in a small coastal farm town called Pescadero, Calif.

Two years ago, the principal of the elementary school said, "This is the last year of the PTA; there are no more parent volunteers." Even not knowing what the PTA was, I did not want it to end, so I said I could help.

The next day, when I picked up my children, the teachers smiled. "We hear you are the new president of the PTA." That's where the story begins: I asked what PTA means.

About 85 percent of the students are Hispanic and now, for the first time in a long time, the PTA president was also Hispanic. I felt the trust and faith the community had in me. My dream was to get all of the parents involved.

It has not been easy. I am balancing my family with my waitressing job and studying for my own GED. But it is important to me because my parents were never involved. In our immigrant culture, we focus so much on work that we don’t always pay enough attention to our kids and their education. We feel we are doing the right thing.

I needed to be different. My counselor, Julie, told me one day that I was the only one who could change the culture and make education more important.

The donation part of the PTA work is easy. Everyone, Hispanic and white, happily gives. But at the events, it is always the same small group of people attending, with half of the food leftover. It makes me sad. Is it even worth it? The only reward is the children's smiles when they go on field trips or get scholarships.

But I can see a change already. This year, our leaders of the PTA are all Hispanic women. I hope this will help other parents say, “I can do it too.”

1 comment:

  1. You go, girl! You are such an inspiration to your family and your whole community as well. As a teacher at Pescadero High School, I see the fruits of your efforts in your son, as he is respectful and hard-working, a difficult feat for a woman of any son.

    Thank you for all that you do. Pescadero High School appreciates you!

    Jennifer Freeman