Written by Aseelah Muhammad
I was born and raised in Phoenix by a family that supported my dreams. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and mine was strong, led by my loving grandmother. Despite the circumstances that can happen in life, I’ve always had a passion for my education, as I know it’s the key to my future.
My high school experience began at a traditional school, and I loved it. It was great to transition from junior high with my friends. Unfortunately, during my sophomore year, I started having serious health issues that led me to miss classes, because I was constantly in and out of the emergency room. On top of my own health, I also began to care for my grandmother, who was suffering from heart complications. I was facing adult responsibilities at the age of 15, along with peer pressure, which all seemed to weigh down on me at once.
During that time, I was focusing on the stress rather than my goals. My path was being redirected – away from my education. I left my traditional high school, got two minimum wage jobs to support myself, and enrolled in online classes. However, I found that the online system did not best support my learning style, as I needed more hands-on and motivational instruction. I soon realized that I needed to take charge of my future by completing my high school education, in order to make the difference in the world that I’ve always dreamed about. I then discovered Ombudsman, and soon the stress was gone. At Ombudsman, I was able to find the perfect balance between what I had received and missed in my previous learning experiences. The teachers are amazing and the environment is truly motivating. Their goal is our goal – to make sure that we graduate and achieve our dreams. What I really love is that there’s no tolerance for “I can’t” – Ombudsman helps us to realize that we can.
The scholarship and career resources we receive are all preparation for my next goal – college. I plan to attend the University of Arizona as a pre-med student. My dream is to one day become a heart surgeon and open a hospital, so that I can help people like my grandmother, who lost her struggle with heart complications in 2015. But, that’s not my only dream. I also plan to obtain a law degree and start a law firm, as well as become a teacher. My instructors at Ombudsman inspire me to want to teach, because they are so invested in their students.
As I look toward my future, I reflect on the many lessons of African-American history makers, like Dr. Martin Luther King, who fought for freedom and equality. It’s inspiring to know what Nelson Mandela accomplished, and to see history being made right now by President Barack Obama. The barriers broken by these Black heroes lets me know that anything is possible. At the age of 18, I look back on my life and reflect on the trials and tribulations that have shaped my story. My Ombudsman education keeps me motivated and I’m excited to uplift my community through my dreams that will soon become reality.
Aseelah Muhammad is a student at Ombudsman Charter Metro. With locations throughout Arizona, Ombudsman Charter Schools offer collaborative learning programs, personalized instruction from caring teachers, small class sizes and flexible scheduling. Ombudsman Charter Schools also help students who need to earn additional credits, who are at risk of dropping out or who have dropped out of school and want to return and earn their diploma.