Acceptance—a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a condition without attempting to change it or protest it. Growing up as a foster child, and feeling different from the other girls, Angelina came to accept her situation.
Foster care is a system where a placement of a child is arranged by the government and is sometimes unfair. Victims, like Angelina, faced neglect or abuse, but there’s always hope. She’d show up to school with bruises, miss school because of injuries, but she never fought back or shed a tear. After being taken out of that dreadful home, Angelina and her sister showed up on her foster mom’s door and this was the hope they had. Even though Angelina may not get along with her foster mom all the time or interact with her much, that doesn’t mean she’s not getting the support a growing teen needs. Her aunt, cousin, brothers, and sister show up to her football games, banquets, and really anywhere she needs their support.
Being in and out of the foster system, Angelina missed a lot of school; “I added up all my missing assignments and saw my grades were terrible. This was one of the few times I’ve actually cried,” she expresses. She saw the other foster kids in the system who already gave up on themselves. Caring about school or future was pointless to them— they had no hope. This gave her the reality check she needed to realize she didn’t want to end up like them.
Afterwards, Angelina was on full “eat-sleep-homework” mode. With her persistence, she turned in all her assignments and saw her grades go from F’s to B’s and A’s. Angelina’s philosophy is “doing stuff for yourself because it’s always going to be you in the end.” Her algebra teacher, Mr. Bu,i says, “AJ continues to stay positive and always works hard. After being absent many times, she passed her tests and showed me her full potential.” She raised her grades not because her foster mom told her to, but because she herself wanted to be successful.
Angelina takes her stand as the only girl on the football team and represents equality. Always judged for being a girl, all she ever wanted to do was to exceed others’ expectations of her. Andrew Dinh, fellow teammate, shares, “Angelina is like a little sister that watches out for us and we’d do the same for her. She taught us that girls can do what guys can do too.” Her football coach even awarded her with “Most Inspirational” for making her mark on the team and proving that football can be for anyone.
Being a stellar athlete, sister, and student is Angelina’s full time job. As she also spreads smiles and positivity Coach Cait, the Frosh basketball girls’ coach asserts, “she’s made me realize that life isn’t always easy. Submerging yourself into the things you love with the people you love makes the biggest difference.” Angelina loves who she is and takes pride in all her accomplishments and inspires everyone around her.