Sophomore Montserrat Sanchez


Photo by Rachel Lu.

Ever since she left Mexico City at the age of 4 and moved to Mountain View, sophomore Montserrat Sanchez has been determined to succeed in school, college and beyond. By involving herself in the school through leading the Latino Student Union (LSU), Montserrat identifies herself as a first-generation Latina, working to help community members achieve their own goals.

From the beginning, Montserrat has worked hard in order to succeed. Neither of her parents graduated from high school, and the family moved to California in the hopes that their children would achieve that opportunity. Montserrat’s brother, who is three years older than her and attending San Jose State University, is the first in his family to go to college. Montserrat looks up to him as an example for her goals.

“Coming from a family that didn’t really know much about college and high school, I’m glad that he got [to college] before I did so that he could tell me about it,” Montserrat said.

Montserrat joined LSU after hearing about it from her counselor, Ariel Rojas, during her freshman year. Wanting to become more involved, she decided to run for an officer position, and became the club’s president in only her second year as a member. She views it as a way to both achieve her own goals and help other Latino students achieve theirs.

“I originally ran to be treasurer, but then I took the challenge of running for president, and here I am,” Montserrat said. “It was a big deal for me because… I’m only a sophomore, and I am president of a very known club.”

As LSU president, Montserrat helps organize Latinos Unidos Caminando Hacia Adelante (LUCHA), a series of events to help parents who are inexperienced with the college process.

“We have meetings so that parents know what classes their children should take,” Montserrat said. “My parents didn’t know about that, so I like… the opportunity to tell other parents and get my officers out there to socialize.”

Part of Montserrat’s motivation to succeed comes from her heritage; her relatives who still live in Mexico face tougher living conditions and have high expectations for her success.

“I still have family members over there, and they call me sometimes,” Montserrat said. “It inspires me to do even better because I know that my family has set a high bar for me, and I’m just trying to reach those [expectations] and make my family proud.”

Ultimately, though the challenge of being a first generation college student is exceptional, Montserrat views the hard work as worth the reward.
“You’ve got to want to be successful, and I think that affects who I am,” Montserrat said. “Because I’m the first generation, I know I have to work twice as hard, but I’m up for that challenge… I want to have that experience of someday buying my own house, buying my own car.”