Education is one of the few things in the United States of America that is guaranteed to every child until they are at the end of high school. As soon as the student graduates high school, they are neck-deep in debt from attending top tier universities and colleges. Rocketship Education in California is looking to help their students from a young age.

And it’s not just the students they help. One teacher has recently shared her experience getting to be a teacher there. She began as many in California’s poorest communities do: an undocumented immigrant. She recalls how it didn’t seem important during elementary, middle, and high school. This particular teacher did well in her early years in school, though doesn’t think she ended up learning anything in middle school due to her situation.

Then her dreams were shattered by one sentence. Her mother told her that she didn’t have a social security number (which many college applications ask for) because she was an undocumented immigrant. She was able to benefit from the DREAM Act passed by President Obama during his term. Even California law benefited her by allowing her to pay in-state tuition at San Jose State. However, she was still too poor to afford a semester there by herself.

So she picked herself up. She went to a community college. She worked for a year to earn enough to pay for her first semester at San Jose. Then, with help, she was able to pay for every semester in cash. She now teaches at Rocketship, and hopes to instill her love of learning in the children she now works with. Some of them are in the same position she is – even down to having to write essays in a language they barely understand and absolutely hating it.