For me, education has made all the difference. I was born in Bogota, Colombia; my parents made South-Dade their chosen home when I was eight years old. Despite the challenges of having to learn a new language, in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) I quickly discovered that I had a love for learning. I excelled inside and outside the classroom. I joined many clubs and organizations, and, while trying to register as a MDCPS volunteer, I was jolted by the discovery that I was undocumented: my family’s application for U.S. citizenship was pending. Learning this did not deter me. In fact, it motivated me. Our application was eventually approved and I am now a proud U.S. citizen. With the guidance of many teachers, mentors, and counselors who believed in me, I started my higher education at Miami-Dade College. Ultimately, I graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, DC with a minor in Education. Following graduation, I returned home to Miami to launch Lulu’s Ice Cream, driven by a desire to be a changemaker in my community – employing local students, mentoring many, and allowing community organizations to use my storefront for meetings and events. As Founder and CEO, I have worked tirelessly to ensure Lulu’s success, and my business has garnered critical acclaim in Forbes and Glamour magazines and on the Cooking Channel. Lulu’s continues to contribute to the soul of Miami.
I wholeheartedly believe that every student must have the opportunities I had to build a successful life, no matter where they are born or which zip code they live in. Fulfilling this promise depends on the strength of our nation’s single greatest lever for advancement: a high-quality education. In Miami-Dade, we have come a long way, but we have a long way to go. Working together, we can strengthen our public schools to ensure they provide the high-quality education that each of our students deserve – and must have – to grow, thrive, and realize their full potential. Education is the great equalizer. It has made a world of difference to me. Join me in this movement!