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Last updated: 2010
Amongst some of the most dangerous streets of South Central Los Angeles, Jonathan Calderon has grown up witnessing perpetual violence. With strength and perseverance he has managed to rise above the violence with one unwavering mission: to go to college. Jonathan last saw his father at age 13 when his parents divorced. His mother has struggled to secure employment while caring for one of his four sisters, who suffers from epileptic seizures. Jonathan looks after his family and does whatever needs to be done around the house -- cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, paying the bills, and helping his younger sisters or nieces with their homework. Jonathan’s daily struggles have been compounded by the fact that his family has had to move at least eight times in the past two years.
Despite these challenges and with considerable responsibility at home, Jonathan has kept his focus in school. Indeed, his hard work, determination, social consciousness and good nature have made him a rising star at school. His commitment to academic excellence has earned him the respect of his teachers and classmates. He helps other students with their studies and tries to show them that “in this world there is someone that cares for them.” He has maintained straight A’s in all of his classes for the past two years, making the honor roll. Jonathan participates in the USC Upward Bound program, has perfect attendance in school, is a school site council member, takes Advancement Via Individual Determination classes, and is a member of the art club. Jonathan will be a first-generation college student in his family, and hopes to have a successful career in forensic science. The Children’s Defense Fund is thrilled that Jonathan Calderon is a 2010 Beat the Odds Award recipient.
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