By: Sindy Monzon, Current Student
Even though we’ve been friends for a while, I had never had a chance to sit down and talk to Jhonatan - now I see him differently. I admire him for the issues he had to deal with at a young age because I’ve been in similar circumstances. All the Donnelly students I know work hard to be here. There are so many stories, and although you don’t get to hear all of them, it’s clear that Donnelly makes a difference in our lives.
Jhonatan Vallejo is in his second year at Donnelly pursuing his associate degree as well as working at a full time job. “I believe that education is very important, and I want to better myself.” said Vallejo. “My dream is to become a mechanical engineer and if it were not for Donnelly, I would probably be a college drop-out.”
Vallejo has a lot on his plate with a hectic work, school and home life; however, he has a drive to work hard to help provide for his family. Vallejo has been financially supporting his parents in Mexico and looking after his older brother, Cristian, for almost a year. It hasn’t been easy. One after another he and his family were struck with financial crises.
Vallejo found himself not only shouldering these new costs, but also the costs associated with continuing his education. “Things got so bad that we couldn’t budget for the things we needed, so eventually our electricity was shut off. People from our church let us stay in a small living area in their basement; that was when I met God.”
After a few hard months passed Jhonatan and Cristian were able to move back into their home early this year. Inspired by the grace they were shown from their church community, they decided to open their home to others in need.
Soon, an older woman, her daughter and local children who had been thrown out with no place to say, found refuge in Jhonatan’s house. He supported the entire household even though it was almost too much to handle financially.
“I was a full time student and things got pretty stressful so I had to drop two classes, but I had a scholarship, so I kept coming part time. That is what Donnelly did for me. The people here kept me coming back to pursue
Now, Jhonatan's housemates are back on their feet and have moved into their own homes. He is grateful that he got to give back to others the way that others gave to him.
Like most Donnelly students, Jhonatan overcame his past hardships to persist with his education. “With the help of God I have been able to face my struggles and I plan to keep going. I am now taking two classes and I am still working full time. I’m not in a rush; I plan to slowly get to where I want.”
Jhonatan hopes to attend the University of Kansas or Missouri University of Science and Technology to pursue his degree in mechanical engineering. Vallejo continues to credit Donnelly for his current success in school, “I would not have been able to do it if it was not for Donnelly.”
A day in my life
If my truck is malfunctioning, wake up and take the bus for two hours.
Wake up and get ready for the day.
Arrive at Donnelly and get some studying done before class.
This is really the only free time I have during the day so I take advantage of it and run errands or do some homework.
After my class, I go to the tutoring center to study what I’ve just learned.
I go home and get ready for work.
Go to work.
I work at a restaurant. The time that I get off varies, but it’s usually between 11 p.m. and midnight.
Go home, shower, and do some homework if I have some left.
This is when I usually go to bed; I try not to stay up too late, but most of the time this is the time I get done with everything.
Then I do it all over again.
Sundays and Mondays are my days off, but on Mondays I usually pick up odd jobs with my brother like painting. During the summer my brother and I mow lawns; just little things so that we can make some extra money. So I usually have Sundays to myself, which is when I go to church. I am very thankful to God for providing for my family, so I try to attend church at least once a week so I can reconnect with Him.