What better way to start the new year than celebrating the accomplishments of one of our own!
Angelina Begines, the daughter of Felipe Begines, a veteran bus operator out of the Chaboya Division, has been accepted to 14 of the top universities in the country to attend a Summer Program this July. And she is only 16 years old.
It’s the dream her father says he’s worked for since joining VTA 9 years ago.
“There were so many drivers putting their kids through Ivy League schools because of our work, and with the right money management, you can do a lot of things,” said Felipe, who can be found driving the 70 route most days, starting early in the morning, so he’s home in time to greet his children after school.
Angelina has spent most of her high school career taking AP (advanced placement) classes, developed to introduce high school students to a college-level education and gain college credit before even graduating high school. And it paid off!
Invitations to the Law and Advocacy Summer Program came from schools such as Harvard, Yale, Duke, Stanford, and Georgetown.
Angelina said it was a difficult decision, but she ultimately chose Yale.
“I felt like Yale was a good fit for me. I get to stay there, go to law classes, get the experience on how to start an argument, how to address the judge, just to get a different perspective,” she added.
Her mom, dad, brother, and sister will travel with her to New Haven, Connecticut for the nine-day program. They are incredibly proud of her, wearing matching navy blue sweatshirts with the prestigious school’s logo.
Felipe says every time Angelina received a letter of acceptance in the mail, he would congratulate her, then walk away to a quiet place where he would get very emotional. “As a child, I dreamed about this happening to my children, and I made it a goal for this to happen. This is the result of hard work and dedication.”
He still remembers his first day at work, nine years ago, when a now-retired VTA Operator told him his new job would help him send his kids to the best colleges. But even with her father’s good job, Angelina knows she’ll need more help, and she is already researching scholarships. “I know I can do it; it will be a challenge, but I know I can do it,” Angelina said with the biggest smile on her face.
“We are going to be right there, right behind her pushing her,” said Felipe.
Angelina hopes this summer experience will help her acceptance to college when she graduates from Gilroy’s Christopher High School in 2023.
She is paving the way for her younger brother and sister, who look forward to following their sister’s footsteps, the first in her family to attend college.