Norma's Dream European Trip

My name is Norma Evelyn Retzepis. I am a 17 year old student at San Gabriel Mission High School. I remember one day, a couple of years ago, someone questioned me why I work as hard as I do. No one's forcing you, they said, so there must be a reason to why you choose to dedicate yourself to your studies - and anything else you commit yourself to. My initial response was, "well, why wouldn't I work hard?" I believe that displays, in simple terms, the reason for everything I've achieved thus far. If you don't put 110% in everything you do, it loses value. I chose to value all the gifts, chances, people, and life God has given me. My education is something I can never take for granted, especially since my family is by no means financially stable, yet my mother does all she can to give us these opportunities. My mother and grandma pull strings so that my siblings and I can receive a Catholic education. They give us a roof over our heads, food on the table, and a support system I am so utterly thankful for. I like to make my family proud; I like to myself proud.

I have been on the Honor Roll since the 3rd grade, hold a 4.3 GPA, have successfully passed AP courses; and I am involved in my school's Campus Ministry, the National Honor Society, the Marketing Team, and Student Government. I am a Lector for my parish, and a regular volunteer at the California Mission Inn convalescent home. I spent my summer working at the Alhambra Courthouse. Plus, I am a Student Ambassador for the Tournament House of Roses.  This year I am at the top of my class, which is an achievement I never thought I'd actually have (since I shuffled between the top 3 for years), but I'm very happy to say that I am. I'm a hard worker who loves being involved and takes chances at any opportunity. Unfortunately, financial reasons hold me back.

My school holds an annual European trip and every year, I wished I went but I knew that it was an unrealistic desire since it was clearly unattainable due to expenses. I just thought I could never go to something like that, why even dream of it? However, this year, I am a senior and it will be the last chance I'll have to go.  My school will travel to Ireland, Scotland, England, and France for two weeks, I just had to at least ask. My family was surprisingly on board, but we need help. I'll admit this letter or any of the fundraising we're deciding to do, makes me uncomfortable and I have doubts.  However, I decided I really  want this, and I shouldn't be afraid to ask for something I think I truly deserve. We'll do all that we can.  If you can help me fulfill this dream and experience such an amazing opportunity, I will be so incredibly appreciative and grateful. I will most likely cry, as well, but they'll be tears of immense joy and love. This could be an experience of a lifetime. Any support you can provide in the way of sponsorship or contributions in any amount will be deeply appreciated.

With thanks and love,

Norma Evelyn Retzepis


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Claudia Luna 
San Gabriel, CA
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