Zachary Byrge: Beating the Odds

Zachary Byrge (College Student, UCLA) Photo of Zachary Byrge

“Beating the Odds”

I have lived my entire life beating the odds. Statistics show that since my mother is a single parent raising a young black male in a low-income area that I am not supposed to amount to anything. I grew up in Watts, California, a poverty-stricken subsection of South Los Angeles, famous for riots, gang violence, and overt drug use. I’m on the path to beating the odds because I attend a college preparatory high school and currently have one of the highest G.P.A.s in my school. In my neighborhood attending school is not really a priority instead, gangs and drugs capture the attention of the youth. Every day I see what drugs and gangs tear apart families, I refuse to become one of those people. Besides, I don’t have time for drugs, much of my time is spent caring of my sickly mother, and on June 4, 2012 my mother suffered a stroke and a heart attack simultaneously. In a single instance, my whole world was turned upside down. God was about to take the person I love the most in the world away from me, I was unsure of what would happen next. The doctors were not sure if she was going to live, this has made me fight even harder to achieve success. While she was in the hospital she made me promise that I would never stop chasing my dream, that I would become the doctor I always said I would be. I promised her that I would never stop striving for my goals and that I would earn the title Zachary Byrge D.D.S., M.D. I have hopes of becoming an Oral Surgeon, and I know that through hard work and dedication I will achieve my dreams.

Life has always been a little rough for my family and I; my mom has always had to work two jobs to put food on the table and to keep a roof over our heads. In 2006 my mom lost both of her jobs, my mother, my sister, and I were homeless going from family member to family members home. I was nine years old and did not truly grasp the fact that we were homeless. All my mother had to her name was a 1975 Suzuki Jeep which we occasionally slept in. My mom got back on her feet we have been living in our current home for going on seven years. Though we were more stable, things were not perfect. Mom worked as best she could to keep the bills paid, keep me in private school, and help my sister through college however when she fell ill we faced financial problems yet again. Since she was not able to work, my sister and I took on the financial responsibilities. My sister had to drop out of college and get a job at the retail. I had to give up playing football for the summer so I could get a job to help my mom and sister. Currently, my family receives government assistance (welfare) and we constantly fight to stay afloat.

Motivation is key, my family has always been my biggest motivator, motivating me to do well in sports, school, and in everything I do. They’re my #1 fans. Since I hope to become a doctor I must study hard, this way colleges will recognize that I am serious about my future. I’ve been able to achieve academic success by staying away from distractions such as gangs and drugs, and surrounding myself with people that are looking to better me, not put me down. Not only am I a student but I also play four sports: football, basketball, track, and play basketball. This motivates me as well because I know I have to have good grades to be eligible to play the sports I love. All the hardships I have endured are just a test that I have to pass in order to be great. I also try and remain positive, being a role model to younger kids who are currently facing hardships is important to me. I am a member of the campus ministry team at my school, and try to volunteer as often as I can. On my free Saturdays, I read to the kids awaiting treatment at Dr. Lenise Yaber D.D.S. office. I go in shirt and tie to give the kids a sense of professionalism. I try to show them that nothing limits them and that I support them 110%. My name is Zachary Byrge and I consider myself beating the odds.

Last modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 11:01 AM