For as long as she can remember, Emily Delgado has wanted to help others. She wanted to do more for her granddaughter, who was struggling in eighth grade after experiencing bullying. He wanted to do more when his grandmother was miles away, got sick and passed away, and his family had to look after the funeral because he couldn’t make it to Mexico. He wanted to do more for his mom, who sacrificed so much that Emily could focus on school.
Emily’s desire to help others showed her interest in psychology and medicine which led her to Suncoast Polytechnic High School, where she could become a nurse. A 2023 AGO award recipient, she has become a major in her nursing education and intends to pursue graduate studies and become a nurse practitioner.
All her life, Emily saw how much her mother did so that her daughters could thrive. When Emily was pregnant, her mother moved from Mexico to America, leaving behind her parents, extended family, and friends to find a safer life in Sarasota, where her brother lives. He went to Southwest Florida, with one daughter and another on the way.
The girl’s mother and sister clean the house and restaurants, wake up early and drive to the islands or stay late after the next business. The family lived in poverty. Aware of how hard she has to work, Aemilia wants to get a job to meet her family’s ends, but her mother insists that she can focus on her studies. This work ethic and giving motivates Emily. As Emily said of her mother: “She is my motivator.”
Her mom’s perseverance helped guide Emily through the challenges of growing up as a first-generation college student and American in a single-family home. It can, as Emily said, “feel a little overwhelming.”
In addition to her mom, Emily finds strength in her friends. Although one has graduated and is now attending college in Indiana, two of his friends, Mary and Helen, support the essential system. “We can talk about these really big topics and have something in common,” Emily said. They share the experiences of growing up in Spanish homes and the pressures of feeling the need to commute between home and school.
His friend Mary was also, as Aemilia said, “a great source of creative inspiration.” Emily was inspired to pursue graphic design, which became an important issue. The girl enjoys creative problem solving, thinking about how different elements fit together. This year, she is helping her school’s anniversary project and she is loving the experience.
Reading has also helped Emily navigate the colorful world, and she credits her English teacher in her sophomore year, Mr. Przekwas, with inspiring a deeper love of books. He mentions one man’s work Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and how his interest in the subject matter, taking risks, made a lasting impression on her.
Mr. Przek introduced Emily to the book “Sophie of the World”, which continues to wrestle her with philosophical ideas and literature today. He said of his teacher, “I indulge myself much more than before, and that helps me convey ideas more clearly.”
Today, Emily is working with her teachers and college counselors to figure out ways to go to school and consider her various options. It’s unfamiliar territory and it can be daunting, but her support and determination to help others sustains her. I would turn her to the other side.
Emily will continue her nursing studies at Daytona State College next year. He knows he needs a job to cover his education, but he already knows all about making sacrifices to end his life doing better for others. Every day he sees it in his mom.
Emily’s advice for incoming freshmen: start planning early and make sure you balance your school and personal life—give yourself some time!
For over 30 years Education Foundation of Sarasota County He supported students and teachers that education transforms lives. As a champion for lifelong readiness, The Education Foundation provides personalized, comprehensive resources and relationships so that students can find their purpose and progress enthusiastically throughout their K-12 education. Its mission is to increase student potential, promote excellence in teaching, stimulate innovation in education, and lead strategic philanthropy.
Of the Awards
The awards competition was born out of H. Jack Hunkele’s vision to recognize students who have overcome great challenges to succeed in life. Through a charitable foundation and other generous gifts, the Sarasota County Education Foundation, in partnership with Sarasota County Schools, emphasizes the resilience and drive of students across our county. During their high school ceremonies, Award recipients receive monetary gifts for post-high school education and recognition. They are invited to become student leaders to promote resilience and perseverance, and connect with educational foundation resources such as student success coaching, mentoring, workshops and more.
Learn more about the award winners and this year’s notable recipients; EdFoundationSRQ.org/STRIV2023.