When she was four years old, Karla Padilla moved to the United States. Growing up, she attended all Irving ISD schools, including Pierce Early Childhood School, Good Elementary, Austin Middle School, Irving High School and Singley Academy. While at Singley, her specialty was in Law Enforcement. To speed up graduation, she attended Cardwell Preparatory.
Due to her accomplishments, Karla was the recipient of the Irving Schools Foundation HIPPY scholarship in 2019. After graduating from Singley, she went on to Dallas College to pursue her Associate’s Degree. With the Dallas Promise program, she was able to complete her degree debt free. She says, “My greatest challenge after high school was trying to juggle being a full time college student and a young mom. It was hard to balance things out and prioritize my child and school.”
Nonetheless, her strengths granted her a great opportunity towards another scholarship. Karla describes her greatest accomplishment to be her selection as a recipient of TheDream.Us National Scholarship. After graduating with her Associate’s Degree, Karla is now pursuing her Bachelor’s with her whole tuition paid for! “Being able to get myself through college as a first-generation student and not be a financial burden to my parents is something I am proud of.”
Today, Karla attends the University of North Texas at Dallas and is majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Spanish. Karla says, “Attending community college right after high school was a smooth transition that prepared me for a 4-year university. I was more informed about how important it is to be involved in student organizations.” With that being said, she now serves as a member of the UNT-Dallas Pre-Law Society.
“After graduating with my Bachelor’s, I will be pursuing law school for a Juris Doctor Degree. I want to practice law and focus on immigration because I want to be able to represent my people and help protect their rights.”
Karla’s greatest inspiration is her family. “My parents gave up everything to give my siblings and I a better future… I feel that I owe them my success. I also have to set an example for my younger brother and sister. As a mom, I also have to show that no matter the obstacles I’ve faced, I was determined to finish school to make my life better for my kids. They deserve the best and I won’t settle until I’m able to give them that.”
She is beyond thankful to have been a recipient of an ISF scholarship. She reflects that she learned about the importance of scholarships with her experience. Karla emphasizes the hope she received to be able to complete her studies despite her status and family’s financial situation.
Karla is also thankful for her early childhood involvement with HIPPY, the source of her scholarship. She remembers and thanks her mother for all of her involvement in school programs such as HIPPY and for allowing Karla the opportunity to participate in them. “My parents have always put effort to help me become a better student and I wouldn’t have gotten that scholarship without their help.”
We asked Karla, “where do you see yourself in five years?” Her response: “I see myself fresh out of law school. My goal is to become an immigration attorney to help those in similar positions as myself. I want to have my own law firm and create a non-profit organization that provides free legal help to minorities.”
Despite the unexpected, her success story is a motivation to others. On track to graduate on time and with great academic standing, Karla is one of the many great students who once walked the halls of Irving ISD.
From the ISF team, we wish you, Karla, good luck on your future endeavors!