A driven student with big dreams, Ana Pedro Hipolito has always been inspired by her father’s courage and perseverance. Ana’s dad grew up in poverty and left home when he was 15 years old to make a living for himself. At age 20, he immigrated to the United States and spent years working hard to care for his family. Even now, Ana’s father leaves for work at 5 a.m. each day and often works late.
Ana wants to show her parents how influential their hard work has been. “I want to be able to have something and give back and make sure their sacrifices were worth it,” she said. “Growing up, my parents both had two jobs and were just trying to make it. Now they're both stable and have investment houses and have been able to make something of their sacrifices. My dad came from nothing to here, and now I want to be able to come from here to something more.”
She's working on her first step toward “something more” — earning her degree. Currently an order filler at DC 6068 in Sanger, TX, Ana is studying business and wants to be an entrepreneur. “I would like to be able to make a product that will help the community and make this place a better place,” she said. “I’d like to be able to invest and give back, and I’d like to have financial freedom.”
Ana and her sister will be the first in their family to earn college degrees — but going to school hasn’t been easy. After paying high tuition fees to attend just one year of college, Ana decided to transfer to a community college to save money. She earned her associate degree, then enrolled in a university to pursue her bachelor’s. With each semester of schooling, Ana worried about whether she would be able to afford to continue her education. She was working at Walmart throughout her time at school, and when the company announced its Live Better U education benefit, Ana applied to the University of Florida. Now, she only pays $1 a day to go to school.
“Every semester I’ve had to think about how I’m going to get to the next semester, but now I don’t have to worry about that,” Ana reflected. “I can just fully focus on doing things I love and fully focus on doing my homework and learning the most I can.”