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   WZM Award for Compassion 


Ruth Handy  presenting WZM  Award for Compassion


WZM Award presented on June 10, 2010 to Gerarda Matamoros, Jefferson High School






By Gerarda Matamoros

I am from South Central, Los Angeles, which is known for its bad reputation. Teen pregnancy and high drop-out rates are some of the issues that my community constantly battles. Growing up in South Central has not been easy because there is violence, gangs, and drugs. A person with a good attitude and manners could always succeed no matter what obstacles may come their way. I want to succeed in life and have the education to help out my community.

In spite of my community issues, I want to go to college. I want to major in education and motivate students to attend college. I am a girl that always wants to help the community and give advice. I go to community fairs in school to see what is going on with the community and help out if needed. I like to be in programs at my school. Thomas Jefferson High School is one of the third smallest schools in Los Angeles Unified School District and there are about 2,000 students. My school is known as a bad school because there are a lot of drop-outs, either because they are pregnant or just don’t feel like coming to school anymore.

Besides that, I come from a family of five members, but I am the oldest of my siblings, so I play a major role in my family because I have to be a role model to my siblings. I have to have good grades and check my siblings homework if they have done it. My parents always remind me that whatever I do, my siblings will do the same thing I do. I am the first person in my family to go to college, so I am always visiting colleges to decide where I should go..

As you can see, I am the type of girl that likes to undertake challenges such as taking courses that are available for honor credit. In my school, I take all the honor courses that are available and the AVID course that prepares me to go to college. Taking the advantage of honor courses is what a college girl needs to do in order to succeed.
I am optimistic as I always think positive through difficult tasks. If I ever fail to do something, I will do everything I can do to make it right. I am the first one in my family to attend college, so being optimistic will help me succeed at the university level.
Therefore, my favorite subject in school is math. I want to major in mathematics and earn a single subject Credential in Math. I love numbers and I like to solve problems that deal with math. I always love to help people when they need it. For example, I help my peers with math, I explain through examples and modeling. I am a quick learner with mathematical formulas; I learn how to solve problems easily by the teacher explaining it to me just once.

Furthermore, I like to be an active participant in my community and school. I have joined too many programs at my school. For example, I have joined The Heart Program in which we try to help our community to be a better place; The Cal SOAP Program in which two college students give me advice on what I should do to be ready for college; and The Recycling Program in which a group and I try to promote recycling in our school and the community to go green. I am currently the president of The Recycling Program; I was elected because my peers know that I am responsible, dedicated, and motivated. Being the president, I should be responsible with my duties, manage tasks, and work well with others.

In final consideration, I am always involved in school activities. I love school, I live to study, and learn new things everyday. Being optimistic would help me succeed in life no matter what obstacles I may have to confront. It would not stop me from anything because my education is first, and to accomplish my career as a math teacher.


Ruth Ratna Handy, LCSW
(818) 834-5925


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