How Our Charter School Became a Second Family

My name is Hector Hernandez Jr. I am the father of 3 children: Erick, who is currently a student at Monmouth University, Karla, who is currently a student at Northwestern University and Monzerrat, or “Monze,” who is a junior at Rauner College Prep.

I was born here in Chicago but my family moved to Mexico when I was young for my father’s business. My wife and I began to raise a family in Mexico, but 13 years ago we decided that we wanted to move back to the U.S. for better opportunities. When we arrived back in Chicago, we immediately enrolled my children in CPS, not knowing much about the schools or the system. I was not satisfied with the education my children were receiving, so my wife attended a school fair and learned about RCP. We quickly applied and enrolled Erick and Karla.

They had such great experiences at RCP. To this day, they still talk about how much they loved their time there. Erick and Karla haven’t forgotten about RCP, and RCP hasn’t forgotten about them. Monze just finished her sophomore year there, and everytime I’m at the school the teachers ask about Erick and Karla. Karla was a star on the RCP soccer team, so I’m still very close with the coaches and administration. I love that RCP is one big family.

Monze is now thriving at RCP, just like her two siblings. I knew I wanted her to attend the school, even though it is an hour away from home. That’s right – I drive an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon to drop off and pickup Monze because I know it is worth it. I know that RCP will set her up for success the same way it did for Erick and Karla.

Monze is an honor roll student who has great ambitions. Next year, she will be applying to colleges. I know that she will be fully prepared for this – RCP works very hard with students to ensure they are ready for tests and aware of scholarships and financial aid packages. Even after Monze graduates, I will still care deeply about the RCP community, and I know they will still care about my family.