Helen Hunt Jackson College Prep High School Senior Isaiah Garcia-Plazola speaking at Hemet Unified School District’s State of the District on Oct. 10. 
Image courtesy of Hemet Unified School District

Sometimes there are people in this world that no matter what challenges come their way always manage to persevere. Helen Hunt Jackson College Prep High School Senior Isaiah Garcia-Plazola, 17 years old of Hemet, is one of those people. 

At such a young age, Garcia-Plazola has learned that he is in control of his destiny, solely leaving him responsible for how he handles life and its ups and downs. Recently, Garcia-Plazola received student of the month and spoke at the Hemet Unified School District State of the District on Oct. 10.

At 13 years old, Garcia-Plazola’s parents divorced leaving him lost and broken. With no real father figure to help guide him, he started traveling down the dead-end street of a life full of drinking, drugs and the actions that come with the territory. Watching drug deals and people getting jumped was a normal occurrence. He knew he was in a bad spot and if he didn’t change something quick, he would end up in jail or dead.

During an altercation with his mother, law enforcement was called and Garcia-Plazola had a choice to make. As he watched his little sister crying and scared, he thought about whether this was the role model he wanted to be. He got a second chance that night. Officers decided not to arrest him and he chose to make a change. 

Garcia-Plazola had a heart-to-heart with his grandmother, who opened his eyes to what he could accomplish if he turned his life around. He said his grandmother asked him: “What’s your purpose in life?”

He didn’t have an answer. 

“I didn’t have any goals in life, I was just doing what I was doing,” said Garcia-Plazola. “That’s where I started on my journey to find what my purpose was in life.”

He decided to get sober and clean up his life when he was 15 years old. With the guidance of teachers and therapists at Helen Hunt Jackson, Garcia-Plazola learned coping skills and other tools to better himself while finishing his high school general education classes. He will graduate with the class of 2020. 

In that process, he learned his life’s purpose. “My purpose in life is to give back to the community and help others like others have helped me,” said Garcia-Plazola. “That’s one of the reasons I want to become a corrections officer, and if they can help provide financial aid I can go to school at Mt. San Jacinto College to become an Emergency Medical Technician also.”

When asked what inspired him most, Garcia-Plazola responded: “My sister, girlfriend, grandma and my mom inspired me to change my life. I wanted to show them I wanted to do something with my life. I really want to have a family in the future and that was a big inspiration for me.”

Then he added, “Thank you for the opportunity to speak. Everybody has a story and everybody is special. I am blessed to be able to share my story with others and hopefully be able to touch somebody’s heart.”

No matter how young or old you are, your life is only one step away from changing for the better. You just have to make the decision.