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The Promise of Youth

The Promise of Youth
Ashley Laumen Willett,
AP World History teacher
at Lee High School encourages
Celeste Carpio in her studies.

If you’re looking for someone to guide you through the potential of a Promise Neighborhood, Celeste Carpio will gladly lead the way. Currently a junior at Lee High School – the largest school in the Gulfton/Sharpstown community – Celeste knows that education is the foundation of all of her dreams. And Celeste is setting her sights on becoming a politician, perhaps even president.
Celeste serves on the Promise Neighborhood Planning Council established by Neighborhood Centers Inc., volunteering her time to help map new ways of boosting educational attainment in the Gulfton Promise Neighborhood.
Celeste knows that education is key to success. She is the youngest of three daughters of a single mother who did not speak English and had only a second-grade education. While her mother worked handing out samples to customers, Celeste was under the work table – practicing with flashcards. 
A parent’s commitment can be a huge determinant of a child’s motivation to learn.
"We knew that we had to do well in school. Education was a priority in our house," Celeste says. She also credits great teachers with building her interest in education.
"My best teachers helped me to be a better student, and they let me know that college was the surest route to success," said Celeste. "They were tough and pushed me to my limits -- but I came through it all okay."
Ashley Laumen Willett, AP World History teacher at Lee High School, smiles when she recalls the perspective that Celeste brought to her class. 
"What sets Celeste apart from her peers is her ability to see the whole picture, whether in class or in real-world applications. She is bright and talented, and a great example of the best of what Lee High School and Gulfton have to offer. I am proud to have been her teacher," she says.
As she begins to prepare for college, Celeste is enjoying her role on the Promise Council, which gives her a part in defining the future of her community. This summer she will attend a Rochester University program aimed at helping Hispanic students become better leaders. Celeste sees the program as another steppingstone to her dream: making it into Harvard Law School.  
Celeste is one of many volunteers who are working to make Gulfton/Sharpstown area into a neighborhood of promise for all of its residents. Three areas are seen as key building blocks: educational attainment from cradle to college; financial well-being; and community engagement. 
Want to be part of the Promise? Please click here to contact us to learn how you can provide a spark to a Promise Neighborhood.