STUDENTS | June 10, 2021
Mrs. Marsuelle Marasas has known Roberto Gonzalez since she taught him world studies his freshman year. She describes him as a leader in every sense of the word and is crossing her fingers that he will return to Tilden High School after he graduates to help future seniors solidify their next steps.
“Roberto has always shown consistent hard work and determination and is just an amazing kid all around. He makes me proud to say that I was a part of his journey,” she said. “I wish there were more Robertos. I haven’t had a student like him in a lot of years.”
Roberto describes himself as someone who is always willing to go the extra mile to help others, even if it cuts into his personal time. One of the extracurricular activities he was heavily involved in was Tilden’s partnership program with Embarc Chicago, an organization that provides experiences for students to grow core values such as communication, leadership, and team building. During his sophomore year, he participated in an Embarc service project at a senior citizen home near Tilden. He and his peers prepared a meal and worked with the school’s music department to sing and play music for the residents to give them a memorable holiday experience.
“Embarc was a great experience for me because it helped me progress as a person,” he said. “At first, I wasn’t sure if it was right for me because I’m not usually too good at interacting with a lot of people, but I started to expand my horizons and that really helped me a lot.”
Inside the classroom, Roberto has developed a passion for math and social studies. He describes math as a river that flows for him, and he also loves to learn about his history and background from different points of view. These interests, along with his desire to pursue a career focused on serving others, informed his decision to major in psychology at DePaul University next year.
Eventually, he sees himself with a PhD and his own psychologist’s office.
“I’ve been through a lot in my life that I can say was really hard for me, and I want to be there for others who are going through the same things,” he said. “Even when you go through hard times, that mentality of never giving up and not letting anyone tell you that you can’t do something is so important.”
While at Tilden, Roberto amassed a long list of accomplishments and memories, including becoming the team captain of the school’s track team as a freshman, joining the basketball team, and being named a Posse scholarship finalist this year. He says that graduating will be a big accomplishment as well, but, before that happens, he and his peers are creating some of their final high school memories by working on a senior legacy project. They are converting a room at the school to become a relaxation room for students and will be writing messages on the walls to remind the school community that the Class of 2021 will always have a special connection to that room.
Mrs. Marasas explains that, in her nearly two decades of teaching at Tilden, Roberto is the latest example she’s seen of the school’s mission to build up their surrounding community one student at a time. She’s excited to keep in touch with him to see all the ways he is able to give back in the future.
And Roberto is ready to get to work, using all of his experiences and mentors at Tilden as motivation toward benefitting as many people as he can.
“I feel like success comes from you believing in yourself, and then you also need those positive people behind you to believe with you,” he said. “From there, all you have to do is actually get up and be determined and get at it.”