Bremen grad goes extra mile in memory of his late father
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent June 7, 2013 4:34PM
Jerosem Esparza, a graduate from Bremen High School, is committed to cleaning up his community by annually sponsoring a litter cleanup as seen Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Midlothian. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 11, 2013 6:01AM
Jerosem Esparza, who just graduated from Bremen High School, appears to have a bright future.
Come next school year, he will attend Northern Illinois University, where he wants to study pre-law so he can become an attorney.
His father, the late Victor Esparza, inspired him to go into law.
“He told me, ‘It is a terrific career to go into and you can help the community,’ ” said Esparza, 18.
Esparza’s father was and continues to be his inspiration. Last summer, the younger Esparza lost his dad when the latter was killed in a car accident. But Esparza hasn’t lost his memories or the ideals that his father instilled in him while growing up.
“He always wanted me to keep moving on, searching for more opportunities and just never giving up,” Esparza said. “My dad inspired me to do good in every and any challenge. He told me to do what I can and never give up.”
One of the challenges that Esparza has gladly taken on is cleaning up his hometown of Harvey as well as Posen, where he used to live.
“The idea came from my father. He liked having a clean environment and he was very strict on that,” he said.
To do his dad proud, Esparza gathered a handful of his friends, promising to buy them lunch if they would help him clean up the litter in Harvey.
“It is a concern of mine. I want to keep it clean and safe, not just for children and the elderly but for everyone in general,” he said.
After their first outing, the teens regularly got together to clean up the community. The effort is not sponsored by any big organization; Esparza is spearheading the cleanup entirely on his own.
“When I came into Harvey about three years ago, I didn’t notice much graffiti, but there was litter,” he said. “Now we take care of it in the summer. We put some shorts on so we’re comfortable and clean up.”
The group branched out recently to include Posen in their efforts. Now Esparza and his friends pick up litter there, too.
“I love to live in an area that is clean and safe for any civilian that lives in the town,” he said.
This summer, Esparza and his friends expect to be at it again in and around both communities.
After that, he’ll head off to Northern Illinois University, knowing he’s done his dad proud.
He also made his mother, Maria, proud throughout his high school career. He was the student council president during his senior year and was involved in the drama club. He also played soccer.
After college, Esparza plans to return to his community.
“I want them to see that a boy growing up in Posen and Harvey can become an attorney. That’s what I’m fighting for and that’s what I’m pursuing,” he said.
He also wants to help out his mother and younger brother, Alan, 14.
“Before my dad died, my family struggled financially. Now it is more so. I need to get out of this big hole, go somewhere and help out the family and the community,” he said. “So bettering our financial status is my motivation.”