Catholic High School senior Alex Flores doesn’t take for granted what his mother sacrificed to ensure her son had a better life.
“My mother immigrated here from Mexico when she was pregnant with me,” he said. “She left her whole family, and it was a really, really tough decision for her to do that. Her main goal was to give me a better life and give me more opportunities rather than how it was in Mexico. That was her main goal. She came here, and she was a single mother. She started working, and she probably worked two or three jobs at one point. She even sent me to Mexico to be with my family so she could work more. Then I returned and she has never stopped working.
“She has always tried to provide as much as she can for me, even though at times the best she could provide is what I needed. And that’s it. She always tried to buy me toys whenever I wanted them. She always made sure there was food on the table, a roof over our heads. To this day, once I matured, I really appreciated that from her.”
For the first 16 years of his life, it was just Alex and his mother Araceli. Two years ago, she got married and brought Flores’ little brother Matthew into the world.
The 18-year-old saw his mother sacrifice again when she decided to put Flores in Immaculate Conception School in North Little Rock when he was in sixth grade.
“One of the ladies my mom worked for said I should be challenged more, and she thought that private education would be the best way to give me that challenge. I met friends, and I got the education that challenged me. I went from getting As easily out of elementary school to still getting really good grades, but I was challenged a lot more, and I had to work a lot harder for those grades.”
The First Assembly of God Church member in North Little Rock followed his mother’s example and has a weekend job as a clerk for a local meat market.
“I’ve been there for four years now,” he said. “They accepted me when I first started as a freshman. I wanted to work and get some money, and I wanted to save up for my first car. My mom said it was a good way to teach me a life lesson that you have to work for what you want. She was like, ‘I’m not going to give you your first car. You’re going to earn it yourself.’ That was a lesson I didn’t understand when I was younger. Being older and I have worked for my car, I learned to value it a lot more. I have a different perspective on earning things and working hard.”
Flores’ success at CHS was recognized by the school leadership, and they chose him for the prestigious Msgr. Tribou Scholarship. His success has mainly been in the classroom as well as in JROTC where volunteerism is emphasized.
“That is one of the main things that ROTC brings to the table as well as forming unity within our group,” he said.
This fall Flores will enter Hendrix College to study business.
“A route I might want to go is being an accountant for a few years and then maybe become an analyst at a company,” he said. “Maybe in the future, I might want to start a business. I definitely don’t want to aim for anything low.”
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