“Don’t get me wrong, it sounds all fun and all, but when it all comes down, it really comes to a point where I… realized that education is actually important to get a career in life.”

It is both of my brothers sitting down eating together when they were younger.
It is both of my brothers sitting down eating together when they were younger.
Isabel Banuelos

Ricardo Gonzalez  is now a senior in high school looking back at all those memories and years of struggles. He is currently taking culinary classes (cooking classes) while also attending school. He talks about how his father hasn’t been a father or role model in his life.

He shares advice on school and on the different choices that affect you both negatively and positively. 

Now that he is a senior he realizes that at first you may think that the bad decisions are the best, but they are not. He has decided to still continue to take culinary classes even while in college. 

He then talks about how being a senior is great over all but there will always be some sort of challenges or obstacles.



Fatima Gonzalez: Okay, my name is Fatima Gonzalez and today I’m here with…
Ricardo Gonzalez: Ricardo Gonzalez.
FG: I have a few questions for you. My first question for you is how did you feel when they told you you were going to have a younger sibling?
RG: I wouldn’t say it’s something big or something small. Mainly because of the fact that I had, we had an older brother at that time who rest in peace passed away. It was just me and him. So after we moved here to L.A. and they told me about that, I was excited, but I expected a male, not a female.
FG: Why did you expect a male instead of a female?
RG: I expected a baby boy because I was like, oh, it’s going to be three boys, you know, all doing sports or something. At that time I was young, so I pretty much didn’t think big, but I was happy to see that the family was expanding in a way.
FG: Did you feel that, did you feel disappointed that you were getting a sister instead of a boy?
RG: Oh, I didn’t feel disappointed. Like I said, I was happy that the family was expanded, so I wouldn’t say it was a big thing, knowing the fact that we live by the worst part of the city, so it’s kind of good to expand the family in a way.
FG: Okay, so the second question is, how do you feel about being a senior in high school?
RG: Oh, it’s great. It’s great. I have good friends to this point. You know, some that betrayed me, but you know, those could stay back in the past. If it wasn’t for me learning through experience and leaving those friends behind, I wouldn’t be getting the good karma I’ve been getting these past few days. For example, the new car, my whole license situation that’s going good, getting paid well. Senior year could be the best thing that could happen to you. The problem is you gotta really focus on your grades. You see, I [profanity] up big time on my grades and I regret it now to senior year. And I’m trying my best. I’m taking courses outside of school and during school to go into college because that’s what’s gonna help you out through life and get you to bigger places. So as long as you have something in mind and the goal to focus on, you will do what’s best for you and succeed.
FG: What do you think is the hardest part of being a senior or just being in high school in general?
RG: So the hardest part, and I speak from experience and through my other friends, the hardest part of senior year would be staying focused in school. Don’t get me wrong, there’s moments where you’re like, oh, you know, [profanity] this, I wanna go hang out with my friends, I don’t wanna do my work, I’m gonna skip class. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds all fun and all, but when it all comes down, it really comes to a point where I came to my point and realized that education is actually important to get a career in life. Culinary school, right now, in other words, cooking school, is helping me out to succeed and actually earn the money what I need to not only learn how to cook but save up to leave to a better place or travel. So, the hardest part is just staying focused. You need to have a great mindset in order to succeed and if you want to be those people to succeed in life, just focus in school. Might be hard, might be difficult because you want to do other things, but trust me, if you put in the effort and you’re willing to try and do your best and focus at school, high school is going to be the best thing that’s going to happen to you.
FG: Going back to what you said about taking culinary classes, what made you decide that that’s what you wanted to do?
RG: So when it comes to a person choosing their career, it’s very hard. It’s something where you got to sit down, think through, and think of all the talents or things you’re good at and decide from there what’s your best option. For me, I’m [profanity] at many things. I’m very bad at many things and it takes time. I’ve had to practice many things and it came out to great success. Why? Because I tried. I actually put in the effort, the time to it, I focused and stayed into it. So I sat down one day and decided what did I want to do. I’m like, I like cooking. My food might be bad, but I like cooking. So that’s what I did. I focused on cooking and I studied it. Now I have my own two plants that I’m growing to make salsa or fruit grow and I’m making breakfast. I’m making cuisines, curry, you know, what comes best. Same thing goes for tattooing, where I actually focus and I can do tattoos now. So, it’s pretty much something, a career, that I had to sit down and think the process of. Because I’m not very good at many things, and I was like, you know what, I want to do this, I’m going to dedicate my time and do it, and great stuff is coming out of it. I’m doing what’s best for me.
FG: So I know that you’re a senior in high school so that means you’re probably gonna go off to college but are you planning to take still cooking classes in college? 
RG: Well that’s a very hard decision I had to think through because, don’t get me wrong college does require a lot of time and focus, which I decided to plan to take to succeed and the answer is yes, because culinary art or culinary school requires art and art requires a degree in art and to get that you have to go to college and from there on I assumed there’s many steps into doing what’s best for you and especially culinary school. So yes, even though I got culinary school, I’d still go to college and study. 
FG: Okay, my next question is what or who prepared you to become an adult? 
RG: That question, don’t get me wrong. I have a father, but well, we have a father and I wouldn’t say it’s, he’s always been there for all of us. So what really prepared me to become an adult is nobody. I’ve had to learn through situations where I’ve gotten in trouble or I’ve gotten into accidents like car accidents or flipped over a motorcycle or just got in trouble and got sent into places I shouldn’t be like juvie. It’s not the best places to be and sometimes in order to learn, you got to learn the hard way or just simpler terms, just go to a wise person, somebody that you listen out to and they’ll tell you how things are. I’ve had interacted with many people who have told me many of their story sacrifices and I just think to myself is that something I really want? I don’t always take it to the heart but it is somethingI think about.
FG:  I’m going to try to relate to the part where you said to go to a wise person. Who do you think is someone that you are trusted enough to go to? 
RG: Someone you trusted enough to go to. At this point I’d say my past teachers but since I stopped talking to them our connection really just slowed down. So I’d say my art teacher, Ms. Alvarado. She’s really been there for me since day one and I’ve connected very well with her husband as well. And we’ve had, I wouldn’t say a strong bond, but we do have a bond where if I need help or support, I just go to them and we talk things out or help me out in situations when needed.
FG: So going back to the school topic, tell me about an experience in middle school that was really hard. 
RG: Many situations were hard. In middle school, I was a straight-A student until 7th, 8th grade where I decided to blink out. So the hardest thing for me would be, honestly, the situation and problems I had to deal with growing up. I’ve had many problems with kids and students that’s gotten me into a lot of trouble and it’s just a topic that I’d say I’m not feeling very comfortable talking about.
FG: Who do you think had the biggest influence on your life and what lessons had you learned from them? 
RG: The biggest influence in my life would be knowing damn well my father wasn’t gonna be there. When you trust somebody and that [profanity] goes downhill, you know, that’s one of them. Our brother passing away, that’s another one. Teaches me how you know life isn’t always gonna expand. There’s always a time that’s gonna come whether it’s tomorrow or today. You don’t know that, that you’re gonna be gone. But the biggest thing would be friend situation when it comes to special having close friends. And this one I want to talk to everybody about for those who are listening. Don’t always have your trust in one person. Don’t give them all that trust. One person I trusted decided to break a very special bond I had with them and friend-wise and that led to a whole bunch of problems but at the same time after he betrayed me, that’s the thing that changed me the most and led me to succeed, so it really depends on the situation you are in and how hard it is but eventually you learn to move on and leave all that heavy weight behind your back and just continue going on.
FG: I’m going to change the subject because that got really dark. Do you have a favorite story about anything? Or a favorite memory about like childhood or high school or middle school?
RG: I guess the one big memory would be on my seventh birthday. [inaudible] It was just me and my brother and that’s pretty much the last time I ever had a good happy memory with him. Where we’d play sports or he’d teach me to do things before everything went down the [profanity] hole and I managed to learn to survive without what’s needed of a parent or an adult.
FG: How would you describe your bond with our brother?
RG: He was he’s like every teenager. They they get to an age where they’re like [profanity] this they want to their own [profanity]  they want to be cool but um it was very strong we would go out places together, we’d hang out, we do things we normally wouldn’t do because you know we’re just brothers and brothers don’t get along. But he taught me many things. And one thing is if you’re helpful to others or you give good karma from time to time, good karma is going to come back to you. Good things happen to people who give out.
FG: So you know we’re Mexican, right? So, has anybody or someone in general ever treated you differently because of it?
RG: Yeah, many times. But, like I said, growing up I managed to learn how to be my own person, how to be. So, when people come to me and tell me [profanity] on, oh, you’re Mexican and you shouldn’t be doing this, or, you know, you should be doing this son all I do smile at them laugh at them and tell them who the [profanity] do you think you are you’re no one to assume my race and matter of fact I’m Mexican and you’re standing on Mexican ground because last time I checked California used to belong to Mexico before it got invaded so I could give two [profanity] to what anybody has to say about my Culture or where I come from.
FG: Are you proud of our Mexican culture? 
RG: Oh [profanity]. Yeah big-time I mean don’t get me wrong. We have [profanity] [profanity] presidents, you know, that could have done better, you know, no bad title Mexico to but I’m proud I’m proud of you Mexican if that’s one thing I’m very proud of but I mean don’t get me wrong I’d like to be Asian too, but big time Mexican, it’s taught me many things, you know. So I’m proud of the Mexican.
FG: Have you ever had a point in your life where you were ashamed of who you are.
RG: Yeah, yeah. This goes out to many boys out there, you know, who’re trying to change or anything. In middle school I used to be one of the fattest boys out there, fattest boy. I used to be ashamed of that. I used to be ashamed of my body. I used to be ashamed of myself. Top A student, I was like, no, I’m different and all of this. I used to be fat, nerd. What I did, simple. I decided to change my mindset, think things positive, [profanity] anybody who tells me what to do, what to say. And a year or two after, as soon as I got to 8th grade, what was it, freshman year, sophomore year, I lost 100 pounds. I fixed my jawline. I got skinnier. In other words, I decided to be a bad student, which wasn’t a good option, but you know, regret that now. But for those who are looking for a physique and a good body type, you know, just work out. That’s what I did. It’s very hard to cut but you know cut or if you want to bulk you can bulk.
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