Alondra Carmona is not your typical teenager. Not only is she extremely bright, but she’s also incredibly selfless!
Recently, the 18-year-old of Houston, Texas, was accepted into Barnard College, an Ivy League liberal arts school in New York City. But she still didn’t hesitate to give up the money she had been putting aside for tuition to help her mom in her time of need.
During the summer of 2018, Alondra landed an internship at Rice University, where she did six weeks of cervical cancer research. Upon completing the program, she earned a stipend of $1,000. Combined with the money she saved working part-time at Chipotle, she developed a small nest egg that she intended to use for college.
That all changed when her mom, Martha Zepeda, found herself unable to cover their $800 rent after losing her job three months back.
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“She works in the Port of Houston, and people work so close together, and the jobs died down [during COVID-19],” Alondra explained. “She was really worried how she was going to get back on her feet.”
This financial stress came to a head when Martha was locked out of their home one day due to a lapse in rent. So, after learning about her mom’s $2,000 rent debt, Alondra decided to donate her college savings to the cause — all $1,800 of it!
Alondra was happy to do it. She explained that it was a “thank-you” to her mom for all the love and care she has provided to Alondra and her 21-year-old sisters, Briceyda and Perez Zepeda, over the years.
“She’s always been a single parent and would work nights when I was little,” Alondra said. “My sisters and I would stay home alone … it was really hard, but she made sacrifices for us to have a better life.”
Fortunately, that wasn’t the end of Alondra’s college story! She was thrilled to receive a $60,000 financial aid package from Barnard.
She then set up a GoFundMe to help cover the remaining costs, including her room and board, and to give her mom additional support. So far, she has raised over $171,000!
“Some of the money I’ll use to help my mom pay rent,” Alondra said. “And I’m so grateful to Barnard for helping me so much. They really are such an amazing school.”
Alondra dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon. To help her get there, she will be pursuing a major in neuroscience with a minor in Latin American Studies.
Of course, her mom is thrilled that she’s getting to pursue her education!
“I know this is her lifelong dream, and she used to dress up as a doctor when she was little,” Martha told a translator. “I’m really happy and proud.”
Alondra gives all the credit back to her mom: “She’s … wanted me to have a better education, and I got accepted to my dream school all because of her.”
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