Maria Luisa (Marilu) Rosas

LAUSD/DACE - Harbor Occupational Center

Nominated in 2023


Marilu Rosas has faced and overcome many difficult challenges since she came to this country. Dealing with a new language was extremely challenging. For this reason, she started taking ESL classes at a local community college. Unfortunately, she had to work and therefore was not able to continue with her studies. Furthermore, her father was seriously ill. He had been diagnosed with Lupus and Lung Cancer. He also needed a lung transplant.

Due to her father’s health condition, Marilu had to try to learn to process a lot of new information about the healthcare system. Fortunately, the hospital had translators to help explain her father’s condition. She appreciated this help. However, the whole experience made her more determined to learn English. Six years ago, Marilu enrolled as a student at Harbor Occupational Center in San Pedro. She immediately felt a sense of community and connection with her classmates and teachers.

As her English improved, she was able to open up her own clothing store in Los Angeles in 2018. She started to feel more confident and optimistic about her future. Unfortunately, her father’s health got worse and she had to close her business in 2019. When the pandemic hit in 2020, it was another difficult setback to achieving her goals. Nevertheless, she didn’t give up.

Marilu committed herself to her studies and enrolled in online classes at Harbor Occupational Center. She took ESL, Conversation and Pronunciation classes. Her confidence continued to build as she advanced through the levels of ESL. As her digital skills improved, she became a great source of support to her classmates and teachers during the toughest times of the pandemic. In addition, Marilu got a part-time job driving Uber because she felt more confident speaking English.

Marilu currently owns and operates her own business in San Pedro, selling and servicing smart phone equipment. She runs the business with her family and uses her English skills every day to communicate with her customers. By running a business and taking ESL classes, she has become a positive example for her young children.

Marilu completed ESL Level Six in March 2023. She is currently enrolled in the HiSet Prep Class at Harbor Occupational Center. After she gets her High School Diploma, she wants to enroll in the Cosmetology Training Program offered by LAUSD’s Division of Adult and Career Education. Marilu wants to start another business in the future by opening a hair salon. 
Marilu remains optimistic about her future. Her life experiences and studies have helped her to develop a growth mindset. Marilu regularly encourages fellow students to keep learning and keep advancing in their education. She says ‘don’t be afraid or ashamed. Be brave and make the decision because learning the language of this country opens us up to more opportunities for self-improvement.’

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