Beating the odds isn’t always as easy as it seems



2020 Homecoming Game vs. Robstown. Friday, Sept. 18. Queen candidate JoAnn Robledo escorted by her father Jose Robledo.

Valeria De La Cruz

Senior Joann Robledo is “tired,” and that’s understandable. She spoke to me after 10 p.m. on Thursday after band practice and homework. She’s also in HOSA, student council, BPA, speech and debate, Spanish club and AP classes. She was also born with a heart condition (aortic stenosis), which limits her physically. She can’t workout much, and can’t lift things heavier than 15 pounds. 

She’s also very grateful. Mostly, she is grateful for her very supportive friends that help her get through her day when things get tough. 

“I always had to visit the dermatologist or the cardiologist, and back and forth, and because I missed so much school,” Robledo said, “it was hard, trying to catch up and make up all that work on my own. Especially when I’d miss school for speech and debate tournaments, BPA, and HOSA, and other clubs. Yeah, it got hard, but I managed because of my friends. I could not have done it without any of them.”

Her friends have been a vital resource. Both of Robledo’s parents are immigrants from Mexico and she didn’t always have all the resources at home as her classmates.

“I can’t just ask my parents,” Robledo said. “I go out of my way, I ask teachers, I have to ask my friends’ parents whenever I have a question about schoolwork or college help.”

Joann’s support system does not only consist of her friends but of so many more people as well. 

“I’m lucky that I have the love and support from my parents and sister, from my friends and from my church,” Robledo said. “I remember in the hospital I always had visitors, and though I was in pain sometimes, I think having visitors was always a nice way of keeping me distracted.”

All of that support has helped her become ranked in the top 10 of her class.

“My mom didn’t really have the support system,” Robledo said.  “Her dad didn’t really let her go to college, and so her goal for me was to always graduate on the top ten banner.”

She is being recognized as a Citgo Distinguished Scholar this year in the “Beating the Odds” category, which comes with a $1,000 scholarship.

Despite this award, Robledo isn’t sure of her success. 

“Many people think, ‘you’re so smart; you get straight A’s; you do everything,’ I’ve gotten comments saying I’m so perfect,” Robledo said. “I think it gets really hard because of there being so many things I do, there are so many ways I can fail.”

She has plans to go to college, but she’s not sure which one. She’s applying to UT-Austin but her “ever-changing list” of out of state schools include the University of New Hampshire, University of Chicago and Dartmouth. Wherever she goes, Robledo said she is likely to pursue a career in the medical field.

Her interest in the medical field stems back to spending time in the hospital because of her heart condition. She aspired to be just like the doctors and nurses who she spent time looking up to. 

“I think just growing up around that hospital setting from a really young age, for as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be like them, to be able to help children,” Robledo said. “At first I remember wanting to go into cardiology, but I think now that I’m older, I wouldn’t mind obstetrics and gynecology, or dermatology.”

She knows pursuing those goals will require years of work, but for now she’s ready to get some rest.