About Meryland Gonzalez
Born to immigrant parents in Watts, CA has profoundly shaped me into the woman I am today. Extreme destitution, gang violence, and scarce educational resources is rampant in my community. However, despite the many challenges I had to endure in my beloved community, it was because of these circumstances that I became a rose that flourished and blossomed in concrete. We are often told to get an education to escape the conditions of our neighborhood. Having been away in boarding school at Colorado Springs, Colorado for my entire high school career, a completely different world from Watts, I yearn to come back and create a rose garden not just for my siblings but all of South Los Angeles.
Due to the danger and violence in my community, my parents placed me in almost every sport you could think of. However, I was never interested in the sports they put me in. But since we watched a lot of boxing together as a family, I wanted to try it. Coming from a traditional Mexican household and boxing being a male-dominated sport, my parents were reluctant to let me join. Even at the age of eight, I wanted to transcend gender norms and be a trailblazer. I bargained with my parents to let me be a boxer and they agreed—I was allowed to box as long as I maintained straight A’s. With the same tenacity and rugged reputation of my community, I took to the ring and soon became a 9x national champion, with a new goal of becoming an Olympian boxer. Despite these accolades, my parents always made sure education was a top priority.
Today, I am on a full ride scholarship at a boarding school in Colorado Springs. Although my parents were reluctant to let their Mexican daughter attend a school over 1,000 miles away, they also had the confidence in me that I would blossom in any circumstance, and they were not wrong. Since being here, I speak Mandarin fluently and am able to immerse myself in Chinese culture, allowing me to travel to China this upcoming May. I have also immersed myself in several leadership positions on campus, such as being a Merit Scholar, Admissions Ambassador, and Residential Assistant. I am involved in a student culture organization as a peer leader, and I am the captain of the volleyball and basketball teams. In essence, my commitment to education goes hand in hand with my passion for athletics, as both are avenues through which I can create opportunities and inspire positive change.
As I continue my journey in this new educational environment, far from the streets of Watts, I carry with me the strength and resilience instilled by my community and family. I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead, and I am grateful for the experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today. I am determined to continue breaking down barriers and proving that, with hard work and determination, one can surpass expectations and strive for excellence. These identities are shaped by where I come from and the values of my family that stick with me, wherever I go.