"I was on the Foot Locker page looking for shoes, because I had decided that I wasn't going to college. I didn't think my family had the income to support me. I didn't even see myself in a college setting.
Ms. West came up to me in homeroom and asked why wasn't I applying. She told me how much potential she saw in me. I had never had anyone tell me that, besides my parents. It hits you.
I chose Dominguez Hills because it was the closest. At first I didn't want to be here, because of the hood. I know what the hood can do to you.
I had an uncle that passed away from the hood. My best friend was killed in front of me, because of the hood. But on the weekends, I would help my dad work. I felt that if I left, nobody would be around to help him. I have five sisters; I'm the only male in the house.
Some of the students that I mentor at LA Academy have the same mentality of, 'I can't do it. Stop poking at me!' So I keep poking at them. I had students who surprisingly talked about me in their essays. When someone says, 'Efrain, you're influencing me to do good in school,' I feel like I have to keep doing that."