I'm Cadet First Class Yohan [INAUDIBLE], and I'm from Los Angeles, California. So, I grew up in South Central Los Angeles. My childhood was very rough in the sense that we didn't have a lot. I lived in a shelter from 14 to 18 with my little brother and my mom.
Most of the time, we stayed about two hours away from our high school-- we would be in different shelters. We used to take two buses and two trains to get to school every day. I kind of hid it from a lot of my teachers and a lot of my friends at first because I didn't feel like they would understand my whole situation, and I wasn't the kind of guy to ask for handouts.
So in school, I was involved with a lot of clubs such as robotics team, chess club, I was captain of the football team. And with all these clubs and activities, it really kept me away from the shelter and kept me away from different situations that I never wanted to be a part of.
I know a lot of kids, you know, you grow up, your parents take care of you. But I didn't really have that situation. I was the one taking care of my mom and my little brother, and I couldn't go to college and just take away that support. So then, I learned about the United States Air Force Academy.
What I found out was the Air Force Academy offered a stipend. That was one of the major drives for me. Of course I wanted a great education, everybody wants that. So, I saw the United States Air Force Academy and everything that they offered as a way to continue having a great impact on not just myself, but others around me, and people I love.
So from that point on, I started figuring out how my application would go and what I had to do. There was a lot of hoops to jump through, but eventually, I got through them all with the help and support of the admissions department. When people talk about giving up, like there's an easier path just to give up. It's what you want, it's whatever goal you set and how are you going to get there? And if you give up, you'll never get the goal.
I think the Air Force Academy is definitely worth all the hard work. There's no other way I would choose to support my family and support my country. It's given me a lot of great opportunities that I just-- I never thought I would have.