Grit is an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful
motivation to achieve their respective objective. Grand Rapids Public Schools parents have GRIT a
Recently several parents from Cesar Chavez shared their family stories. Grit was sprinkled all through
them. For example there was Lucinda, a 35 year old mother of a 5 th grade daughter. She was born and
raised in Grand Rapids after her parents relocated from Texas when her mother was pregnant with her.
She lives with her parents, a sister, a nephew and her daughter. Recently she and her mother were laid
off from a job they had held for 10 years and are currently looking for other work. Their determination
to find work displays great persistence, recently taking a test at the Grand Rapids Public Library for an
Life hasn’t always been easy. Family members have gotten sick and died and others are estranged. But
they have faced each loss or disappointment with grit and that never give up attitude. Success doesn’t
just happen. It is a result of hard work, determination and some blessings.
Lucinda and her siblings attended Grand Rapids Public Schools. The youngest of 10 children, Lucinda is
the only one to have completed high school. Her siblings quit in high school and went right to work.
Most of the children still live in Michigan with children too numerous to count. Lucinda credits her mom
with getting her to complete school. Her mother was determined that one of her children would
complete high school. Although Lucinda didn’t find school easy, she kept at it and graduated from Union
High School. Her daughter has attended Cesar Chavez most of her life. Lucinda is also a faithful
volunteer at Cesar Chavez instilling in her daughter the importance and value of education for her
Meet Ashley, 30 years old, who proudly admits to being Mexican, Puerto Rican and Italian. She is also a
lifelong member of Grand Rapids being born here in 1986. At the early age of 7 her father left them but
still remained a big part of the family. She credits her father’s attention to her schooling and attendance
as a main reason she graduated from high school. Her mother moved them a lot after their father left
and Ashley had a hard time remembering all the schools she attended each year. Her mother was more
focused on putting food on the table than their education. This constant moving and changing of schools
left Ashley without a desire to make friends since they were only going to be moving soon anyway. Her
school attendance was awful, according to Ashley, but she managed to learn anyway. As the oldest she
was expected to help raise the younger children for several years. Additional siblings were born along
the way as she has three brothers and two sisters.
Ashely has 5 children of her own and 2 additional step children. Her boyfriend also lives with them and
works in the construction trade. She has taken her experiences from childhood to build a more stable
and focused mother engaged style. Ashley volunteers at school by helping with field trips, in the
classroom and is learning how to become the new Parent Action Leader for Cesar Chavez. Her youngest
children, 3 year old twins, were born early and have a few after effects. Her son has been diagnosed
with autism and Ashley has used grit learning how to help her son and getting him the help that he
needs. This wonderful young man has a beautiful smile.
Each of these mothers has faced roadblocks and grief, yet they remain friendly and open to new
experiences and jobs. Their grit, determination and persistence has allowed them to work, raise children
and become engaged parents in Grand Rapids Public Schools.