Natalie Solis is on top of her game. She is a news anchor for the Fox TV affiliate in Dallas. She graduated from an Ivy League college, where she majored in political science. She can indulge her passions for travel and current events.
But Solis has had to work hard for all of it. Each generation of her family has achieved more than the last. Her grandmother had to drop out of the third grade to make money by cleaning houses. Her mother didn’t get a degree but did have a good job, and she encouraged Solis to read and go to college.
“She always put her heart and soul into her job,” Solis says. “I won’t say she hated it, but was working at the credit bureau her dream job? I doubt it.” So Solis set a goal for herself: “I wanted to do something that I would be passionate about.”
She not only supports but also lives the principles of the SUCCESS for Teens personal development program (funded by the nonprofit SUCCESS Foundation). When she visits Dallas-area schools on behalf of the SUCCESS for Teens program and its free curriculum, she echoes its lessons, telling the teenagers:
• Attitude is everything. Solis points out that teenagers must bring the same determination to their life goals as they would to get to an event they really wanted to attend, even if they didn’t have a ride. “You find out your friends are going, and you will take three buses, walk a mile—you will get there.”
• Keep learning. Solis works hard because her mother set an example for her. “I didn’t want to let her down, because I saw her come home from work every day, exhausted.” Solis took advantage of her community’s library. “It was a room in an office building. This was before Google, and everything was filed away—addresses where you could write for information on different scholarships.” She tells teens: “The information is there. You cannot be afraid to ask questions. There is no question that you should ever have that goes unanswered, ever. There is always somebody who is willing to help.”
• Make your dreams come true. In high school, Solis really wanted to be a member of the National Honor Society. She had the grades but was denied membership because she hadn’t taken a leadership role at school. “I was heartbroken.” But Solis didn’t give up, making the cut the next year after starting a math and science club. And, looking back, she doesn’t fault the initial rejection: “They [wanted me to] think a little bit more broadly, to find my voice and exercise it.” Ironically, the news anchor who doesn’t feel nervous before newscasts gets butterflies in advance of her school appearances. But once onstage, “I use my mom as an example and tell students the things that have always helped me—and things I didn’t take to heart that in retrospect I wish I had.”
Visit the SUCCESS Foundation to order a free copy of SUCCESS for Teens for your classroom or purchase for students in need.