Keeping Alive a Family Tradition Eagle Rock Valedictorian Heads to Stanford

Source: by Ellen Matsumoto Morgan

When Carlson Marquez opened up his e-mail and discovered he was accepted to Stanford University, there was a sigh of relief.

“My sister graduated from Stanford and plans to go into law. I felt like I would disappoint everyone if I wasn’t accepted there too.”

A child of immigrants from the Philippines, Carlson wanted to make his parents proud.  His college-educated mother and father always taught him a good education was the key to securing a good future.

Sadly, his Mom won’t be able to attend his high school graduation.

“When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, it opened my eyes to the harsh realities of the real world,” Carlson said. “This difficult situation illuminated that there is more to life than excelling in school. It’s also important to value others and appreciate all of the little things.”

He lost his mother to pancreatic cancer while in high school. He didn’t lose his ambition to attend Stanford, or to make the world a better place.

Before he goes off to college, Carlson plans to go to the Philippines. He wants to set up a foundation in the poorest areas of the country to help provide children with basic needs such as school supplies, clean clothes and, if possible, free medical exams.

“I hope to inspire the children to dream of bigger things and to give them a chance to live in a proper environment,” Carlson said. “I want to go to different provinces, listen to the personal struggles of children and use that information to inspire others to do random acts of kindness around my community.”

It’s a fitting tribute to a mother who helped him dream big. Stanford is his dream come true.