By Emma Orosco

From as far back as I could remember, I’ve considered Brooks my home. I remember first moving to the southeast side of San Antonio and dreading the idea of having to move schools my fourth-grade year of elementary. When my parents told me I would be enrolled in Brooks Academy, I was not excited. Little did I know, this would be the change that excelled not only mine but my family’s ideal future. Fast forward nine years later, I am beyond blessed to say that I am Brooks Academy’s Class of 2020 Valedictorian. However, I know I would never be in this position had it not been for the people I have met along my journey in the Brooks community.

Emma was B.A.S.E.’s Class of 2020 Valedictorian.

Although many may see Brooks Academy as a small school on the southeast side, I have grown prideful in every aspect of it. At the start of my first year at Brooks Academy, the school included two buildings and a few portables; however, the space we had never altered my focus in school. Each year, I had the most incredible teachers and peers that continued to push my perspectives and capabilities. From my elementary, to middle and high school years, every teacher, coach, and administrator crafted my character and made me the student I am today. As I grew as a student, so did the school. The structural additions at Brooks Academy added to my STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) experience and provided more opportunities for all grade levels.

In addition to my world engulfed in academics, I found a release from my studies in cross country. Being one of the many sports I joined at Brooks Academy, I felt that running was a perfect match for me. I loved waking up at the crack of dawn and being able to run all around Brooks and witness sunrises unmatched to any other parts of our city. Running from our school to The Greenline was something I looked forward to every day. It soon became a routine outside of school and shifted to sunset runs that I continue to enjoy today.

Outside of school, my dad Smiley continued to introduce me to the Brooks community. We made it a goal to try and make it out to all the festive events that Brooks held. From town hall meetings, to Hangar 9 galas, and the Big Red and Barbacoa Festival, it was always special to see the variety of individuals in and around the Brooks area who would come together to make an unforgettable event. Alongside the fun, my dad was able to share his business as a local realtor through all Brooks occasions. To see all the networks that Brooks had to offer affected my dad’s business significantly. It motivated me to see my father thrive in a community that we hold so dear. Not only were we living south, but we were, in fact, living Brooks! And these connections continued to enliven our experiences.

Emma will be attending UT Austin in the Fall.

During my high school years, I was led by my sister (who is a server at Brooks’ Texas Roadhouse) to start searching for a potential first job. While eating at one of mine and my family’s favorite restaurant, 1917 (located in the Embassy Suites Hotel at Brooks), I was thrilled to see signs for a job fair. I felt it was right to attend this fair, and I was so glad I did! It was another milestone I shared with my Brooks community, and it made the search for jobs convenient and less stressful. I was blessed with the perfect fit at our local Starbucks, located in the Brooks area. I felt solace knowing that I could reach my part-time job in a few minutes from school and home. Not only that, but I could also complete schoolwork before my shifts if I needed to. Being a partner at Brooks only brought me closer to the individuals of my community. And being able to interact and create relationships with regulars over my past two years at Starbucks makes my job even sweeter!

To say the least, Brooks is the reason I am who I am today. Had it not been for the move I had at a young age to this side of town, I would not be gifted with all the opportunities I have in front of me. I have flourished as a young adult by being able to learn and obtain inspiration from the incredible role models and staff of Brooks Academy. My school paved the way for my early college education and allowed me to further my schooling at my dream university. I have made lifelong relationships with friends and created bonds that will never be unbroken because of the close-knit environment of our Brooks community. As I continued to prosper along my journey at Brooks, I was encouraged to see my family experiencing similar accomplishments. I have taken many leaps in my academics, athletics, work world… the list can go on, but knowing that I was guided by my people here at Brooks brought me comfort. This community is my roots, and I am so glad to have been able to take advantage of all that it has and will continue to offer for all generations to come.


Emma Orosco recently graduated Valedictorian from Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering and is about to begin her first semester at the University of Texas at Austin to study psychology.