Home Community Blog Building the Nest: Q & A with Waterford Parent, Karina Gonzalez

Introduction from Nicole Miranda, Director of Admission

I was just two years into my tenure at Waterford when I met Karina. I can remember her standing in my doorway as if it were yesterday. Quietly she asked, “I’m looking for a better opportunity for my son, he’s very smart and hardworking, but I cannot afford the tuition here. Do you have scholarships?” Since that time in 2014 I have witnessed two of her three children graduate from Waterford. It has been an honor for Waterford to be a part of their journey. We are grateful to them and in particular to Karina for all the sacrifices she’s made so that she could leave her children the one thing no one can take from them – a Waterford education. 

Today, Joaquin ‘18, a Daniels Fund Scholar, is in his last year at Columbia University and will graduate in May with a degree in Economics and Mechanical Engineering. He also attended Claremont-McKenna College prior to transferring to Columbia. Xiomara ‘22 is in her first year at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Their youngest brother, Izel ‘26, is in his first year at Waterford as a member of the freshman class.

Joaquin’s ability to access Waterford was made possible by The Gayle and Larry H. Miller Foundation in partnership with the Waterford Fund.

Q: How did you find out about Waterford?

I found out about Waterford School through a teacher at our previous school, they knew  that Waterford was a school with a great reputation and she knew that I was looking for an opportunity to help my son, Joaquin, obtain an education beyond what the local public schools could provide. She mentioned that sometimes private schools have financial assistance programs for students from diverse socioeconomical backgrounds or that they might offer scholarships for students with excellent academic performance, but cannot afford the cost of tuition. 

Q: Why did you decide to bring your family to Waterford?

I heard many good things about Waterford prior to  attending and researched the school online to make sure it was a good fit for my son, and what caught my attention was the rich and extensive curriculum, and deep commitment to the academic and personal growth of every student.

Right away, it was clear that Waterford possessed a learning environment that cares deeply and nurtures, inspires and prepares its students to reach their goals and discover meaning and purpose in their lives.

Q: What is the outcome for your children now having received these scholarship awards and financial assistance?

Attending Waterford has benefited my children in many ways, it has helped them build their confidence and has shaped them into the people they are. Waterford has helped them develop critical thinking, utilized not only academically, but in real-life situations as well. Through their time at Waterford, they have learned to analyze things from a different perspective, they have discovered an expansive vocabulary and have learned effective ways to communicate. Waterford has helped nurture them into passionate individuals with strong conviction, equipped to defend their opinions in informed and respectful ways.

As recipients of these awards, my kids understand that they have to do their part by working hard, by using their time wisely and making the best of the opportunity.

I would like to emphasize that the incredible opportunity to receive a great education is an honor, we feel very blessed— but the love, support, and care my children receive at home, and their ability to work together as a team has been an important factor to their success. It has helped them to overcome challenges and appreciate all that can be learned from the struggles in life. Ultimately, I believe that a great education is undoubtedly the best inheritance that you can give to your children.

Graduating from a prestigious school like Waterford that emphasizes academic rigor, character development, and independence has helped my kids succeed in college and the world outside of Waterford. Not only have they continued to achieve good grades, but they navigate their lives with character, wisdom, and integrity—I believe that’s what Waterford is all about.

Q: Why do you choose to give back to Waterford?

I am so grateful that my kids have received this opportunity and are able to pursue such an excellent education, giving back to Waterford is our chance to show our support for the school and the larger community. We understand that giving to Waterford truly makes a difference—it is a happy and rewarding feeling to support a cause that you truly care about and a great way to bond with the Waterford community.

Q: What were the challenges that your children faced/face throughout your time at Waterford?

Joaquin was my first child to attend Waterford, and there were more challenges we had to overcome in the beginning. We used to live in West Valley and since I had to take Xiomara and Izel to their school in the opposite direction of Waterford, Joaquin would have to take a 2 hour bus and train ride to and from school everyday. Aside from this, there was a big academic transition all of my kids experienced when they started at Waterford. They quickly realized it was going to be challenging, but with the access my kids had to their teachers, they were able to seek one-on-one assistance when needed. Joaquin and Xiomara would often stay after school to work on homework with their teachers. As Izel navigates his first year at Waterford, he is discovering how to use the resources available to him, like Waterford’s Writing Center, but now he can also reach out to his older siblings when he needs additional help.

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