ESS Student: ‘I need to keep pushing’
August 19, 2019
Armando Wright never had a proper childhood. His parents both battled drug addictions, which often left Armando to take care of himself. “There were nights where my mom and dad would go missing and I’d be at home by myself,” Armando said. Armando’s father was deported to Mexico after multiple stints in prison. His mother’s drug addiction got worse and Armando moved in with his grandmother. “Once I began living with my grandmother, I did go through a lot of years of depression and anxiety,” he said. “I just remember most nights crying. Just wishing that things could be better for me.” Armando had seen too much for a boy his age. His struggles with anxiety and depression persisted during his early high school years. But his commitment to education remained. After attending two different schools his freshman and sophomore years, he enrolled at Decoto School for Independent Study. “He actually approached me — contacted me through email about interest in our school,” said Decoto School for Independent Study Principal Grace Kim. “He kind of did research, I think, on our school and felt like this was going to be a good fit for him.” Thanks to the small school environment and a supportive staff, Armando flourished. He completed all of his courses while also juggling a full-time job. When asked how he kept motivated, Armando pointed to his parents’ struggles and not wanting to go down the same path as them. 

“I just want to help kids out that have gone through similar situations that I did.”
–Armando Wright, Every Student Succeeding winner, Region 6
“I’ve always had that mentality that I need to keep pushing,” Armando said. “I need to keep doing my work. I need to keep doing what I need to do to succeed. I didn’t want to end up like that. And the only reason that I kept motivated and kept going and decided to go to college is because I want to have a better life. I don’t want to be like them. They’re struggling right now and I don’t want to struggle. I want to be me.” Decoto School teacher Allan Johnston said he saw Armando’s potential very early on. “He is quite the kid,” Johnston said. “I think right from the get go … he had a vision and a goal for himself. And I think he’s sort of carried that through.” Most young men and women have no idea what type of career they want to pursue in the future. But Armando said he’s known for a while. After graduating from Decoto School for Independent Study in June, he plans to pursue a degree in social work. He says he wants to help others any way he can, especially those struggling with depression. “I know what it’s like to be really down,” Armando said. “I know what it’s like to have those thoughts. But I got the help that I needed and there’s people out there that need that help as well. I just want to help kids out that have gone through similar situations that I did. And I want them to know that there’s people there for them.”
Armando Wright lives with depression and anxiety.

© 2019 Association of California School Administrators