Esmeralda Lawrence came from Coalcoman, Michoacan, in Mexico when she was 10 years old. She entered the sixth grade without knowing any English.
School in general was overwhelming for her at first, she said.
“It was really hard, but my teacher, Mr. Martinez, helped me a lot. He was a big help,” said Lawrence.
Upon first sight of Quincy, she was amazed at the size of the town and its grocery store.
“I walked into Akins and I was amazed. It was huge to me,” she said.
Having arrived in October of that year, she saw her first snow ever and was thrilled.
By the time Lawrence entered Quincy High School, she was determined to catch up with her peers and stay with them step for step. She joined College Bound, a program that helps high school students learn about community service and obtain credits for high school or college courses during the summer. She was a member of College Bound for all four years, and during the summer she spent six weeks at Big Bend taking classes and soaking in the college experience.
Lawrence also entered in the Junior Miss competition, and enjoyed every bit.
“I got to meet a lot of neat people. We learned how to be interviewed and about how to be a role model,” said Lawrence.
Lawrence was a varsity wrestling cheerleader at QHS and performed with the SPECTRUM choir group. The highlight for her was when she traveled with the group to Seattle to sing the national anthem at a Mariners baseball game.
Shortly after her graduation in 2003, Lawrence married her husband, Jay, and started working at Petersen Licensing in 2004.
“I love my job. I love every aspect of it,” she said.
Lawrence is ambitious. Even while working and raising her children, Malachai and Miah, she finds time to help her father, Francisco Lopez, with his business and take college courses online.
Currently, she is finishing an associate degree in science with a concentration in management through Centura College. She graduates from the program in September.
“I like the people here in Quincy. Everybody is friendly and there is a nice, small-town atmosphere,” said Lawrence.