Meet Esthela Carreon, ICS Class of 2008, who joined our Board in September. We had a chance to catch up with her recently and talk about the long term impact of her years at Immaculate Conception on the young woman she is today. “Before I transferred to ICS, I was 4 weeks in a public school. During that short time, there was a shooting there and it was just scary. I just don’t think I would have survived had I stayed there, nor do I think that a public school would have helped me as much.
When I arrived at ICS, I spoke no English, so first of all, it taught me English and helped me to learn to communicate well with others. I learned not just how to read, but to love reading (which I do to this day!). My years at ICS taught me to get along with a lot of different personalities. And of course, I know my prayers and still say them.”
Then we began reminiscing about events and traditions from her elementary school days. “Halloween was always fun; classes went trick or treating to other grades and we had a haunted house with spaghetti for brains. The dances were fun too!
One of my favorite things was Country Day. That was so great! Each class took a different country and we studied the culture, customs, and food. Then we traveled to every other grade. I remember that in the 4th grade we were Australia.”
Esthela grew up in a family with simple means. Looking back at the sacrifices her parents made to invest in her and her sister’s education at ICA, she reflected, “I am super appreciative of my parents’ sacrifice! You don’t really see the sacrifice until after you grow up. Looking back, I see that my parents chose to live simply so that we could have this opportunity. Our family, which consisted of my parents, my 2 sisters and me, and my grandparents lived in a one bedroom apartment for many years. There were two sofa sleepers in the living room, one of which was “my bedroom.” My parents never made it look like they were sacrificing, but with hindsight, I definitely can see that they were. My parents believed strongly in the power of a good education.
Esthela graduated from Sacred Heart High School as class valedictorian, and subsequently from UCLA (2016). “Currently I’m working full time as a financial analyst at an investment bank firm. I am in the general government group; we look at cash flow, of different municipalities to determine if they can do things like issue bonds. This job involves a lot of public relations and an insane amount of computer formatting (doing tables, etc. same widths, etc). I enjoy the financial freedom it gives me so that I can help other people. I can take my parents out for dinner, or buy something that my sister needs or simply give to others. All the stress and long nights make it worth it!
When asked if there are certain personality characteristics that she attributed to her time at ICS, Esthela said, “Everything is so connected; it’s hard to isolate and identify one. There is definitely a domino effect . Being at ICS did allow me to use my education and skills to help other people. For example, I was a good reader and able to volunteer my time at the Salvation Army Red Shield helping younger kids read. I am so glad that my youngest sister, Adamaris, got to attend ICS and know some of the same people that Geraldine (my other sister)and I did.”