Neftali Fonseca believes in perseverance and hard work.
Her parents, both immigrants from Mexico, left school at early ages to work and assist their families. Her parents moved to the United States, met and were married in Harvey, Illinois, where Neftali was born and raised. She and her siblings attended a school which was plagued by problems with drugs and violence. The neighborhood they lived in was not safe.
Neftali's family made the decision to relocate to Grant Park, and Neftali attended Momence Junior High School. The change in her environment allowed her to transform from a “B and C student” to earning straight A’s.
Neftali enjoyed the newfound challenge of her Advanced Placement and Honors courses. She also participated in seven extracurricular activities at Momence High School. If that wasn’t enough, she completed 40 hours of community service during her high school career. Upon graduation she had a 4.16 GPA and was in the top 10 percent of her class.
As a first-year student pursuing a degree in engineering, she remains busy. She works part-time and helps her father with his construction business in her spare time. Neftali is the first person in her family to complete high school and is a first generation college student. She credits her parents for her persistent work ethic.